This novel by Terry Ronald captures an era I remember all too well. Although I come from a different part of London, I would have been the same age at the same time as David, the central character in this book. He is cast as Nancy in the school production of ‘Oliver’. This isn’t the part every boy aspires to but David is ready for the challenge, especially when he develops a friendship with the school’s star soccer player, Maxie.
As the friendship between David and Maxie develops into something deeper, all around them seem to have an opinion about it. What affected me the most was the story of a boy coming of age and coming to terms with who he really is and realising that many others, including his family, were ahead of him.
In this novel, true love does not run smoothly but there is a best friend, Frances, to help out and a sympathetic gay teacher. There is also a bully of a teacher to contend with and it is the era of the National Front. Standing up for minority rights is the order of the day. The 70s were not the most tolerant or enlightened years but many battles for acceptance were fought and won back then. Our society is what it is today because of the people who stood up to be counted back then. Terry Ronald has done a good job of reminding us of this in ‘Becoming Nancy’.
‘Becoming Nancy’ is in my hinterland. What’s in yours?