Coming of Age

By Danny Ryan

Review by Amanda Pollard

A friendly reviewer of this book writes on page one “I read it in one sitting”. This is encouraging since I’ve left myself one evening to read and review it.

They’re not wrong, it’s a compelling read. This book is genuinely funny; it’s been a long time since a book has made me laugh out loud. Danny is a social worker, probably in Hastings, and a former band member of ‘Gold’. His perceptive descriptions and recollections create a bonding recognition with the reader. Maybe we all have Catastrophe Hours where we play out our ultimate fears in our minds?

Danny manages to bring alive his years of working in adult social care, with tales of former colleagues and clients that will have you hooting. He must have been a fabulous colleague to work with. I suspect his 30-year run of writing and producing the adult social care team’s annual Christmas pantomime is legendary, and I’m left wondering about the reactions of his colleagues to his descriptions of them. Does the “Morris Dancer who comes alive every Spring Bank holiday when he has the excuse to dress up, become embarrassingly uninhibited on real ale and wank around a maypole” recognise himself? I do hope so. 

The chasing of dreams and the utter persistence of self-belief is impressively recounted; and rewarded with some level of fame with his Opportunity Knocks (fiasco) and tours of the USSR. But the dream makers he pins his hopes on are as dead end as the band – not that that’s a problem for the reader, who enjoys one belly laugh after another.

Danny’s brush with the occult deserves a separate book of its own, and probably shouldn’t be read on one’s own at 1am… Thankfully his description of the antique Adele provides an antidote to any terror.

Given the gloom and doom of current events, we all need to go out and buy this book. It’s the perfect companion for the self-isolationist. Or maybe have it delivered.

Available from Amazon or: www.comingofagememoir.com 


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