Welcome to our Anniversary Blog by resident blogger Jake Hope. Jake will be reading and reviewing all of the past CILIP Carnegie Medal winning books during the anniversary year. We are also asking shadowers to "Adopt a Book" and join in reading and discussing the anniversary titles in their shadowing groups.

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"‘The record clicked as it finished. We sat in the silence. I wanted to tell Mum something that I’d never been able to say to her before. If I left it till I came back home I might never be able to say it. I might be a different person. ‘I want to say something about Danny.’"

Granny was a Buffer Girl

Carnegie winner: 1986
Author: Berlie Doherty

Set in post-industrial Sheffield, Granny was a Buffer Girl introduces protagonist Jess, aged eighteen, as she is on the cusp of adulthood and at a turning point in her life as she prepares to leave home to study in France.  This provides a platform for her to explore and examine the lives and stories of her own family and the ways these impact upon who she is and the relationships she shares with them.

The Sheffield setting is evoked with skill and attention.  It is one that shifts and subtly alters according to the ages of the family members that form the main focus for each chapter.  The industrial heritage, sense of community and its nestled location within the Peak District makes it.

There is keen attention to detail as attention progresses through different characters and decades, offering subtle clues about fashions, politics and lifestyles in those ages.  In encountering the stories of her relatives, Jess learns more about her own life, her beliefs and ideals, thereby coming to terms with some of the difficulties that exist in her own past. 

Curious and lively, Jess is a likable and compelling character throughout and it’s easy.  The novel creates a tapestry of relationships and interconnections between stories and individual family members and themes embraced include love – both platonic and sexual – growth and development.

An unusual set of interlocking stories about stories and the impressions they cast and impact they cause in families. A novel of faith and family, stories and secrets, industry and identity.