The Generation Game by Sophie Duffy
Published by Legend Press in 2011
My copy: Kindle ebook
Philippa Smith is in her forties and has a beautiful newborn baby girl. She also has no husband, and nowhere to turn. So she turns to the only place she knows: the beginning.
Retracing her life, she confronts the daily obstacles that shaped her very existence. From the tragic events of her childhood abandonment, to the astonishing accomplishments of those close to her, Philippa learns of the sacrifices others chose to make, and the outcome of buried secrets.
Philippa discovers a celebration of life, love, and the Golden era of television. A reflection of everyday people, in not so everyday situations.
Forty-year-old Philippa has just had a baby, and as she lies in the hospital she reminisces about how she got there. The style is like that of a memoir, with lots of detail about Philippa’s life and experiences…
We start literally from day one, with Philippa describing her own birth and experiences of her very early days. This part of the novel was quite quirky, and I found myself enjoying it as the story was told in a humorous way. As Philippa grows older and the story progresses, we get a real insight into her life and those around her.
This novel was steeped in nostalgia, and will be a trip down memory lane for anyone growing up in the 80s. As well as music and TV shows of the time, we get descriptions of Charles and Diana’s wedding and other significant moments in recent history.
I have to be honest though – I did find this book quite a struggle. Although in some ways it was quite charming, and some of the little anecdotes were sweet and funny – and sometimes very sad – I just found the book a bit slow going and I really struggled to stay interested. I found it really hard to distinguish between the different characters in Philippa’s life – there were two women in particular who seemed completely interchangeable and every time they appeared in the story I had to remind myself who they were as they didn’t seem to have any distinguishable features.
I think the book was well written overall and really succeeded in creating a sense of time and place. But I did find the story a bit boring and the characters rather two-dimensional. And I have to admit then when I got to the end I was quite relieved!