The Generation Game by Sophie Duffy Legend Press April 5th 2018
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, Phillipa 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.
The Generation Game brought back lots of memories of long forgotten television programmes. Who remembers Family Fortunes, New Faces, This Is Your Life, Come Dancing and of course The Generation Game? It is a veritable trip down memory lane and indeed that what this novel is all about. It is about looking back, it is about Philippa, aged forty who sits in a hospital with her newborn baby and how she got to where she is today. It is also a novel about family and discovering who your family is and what they mean to you.
Philippa herself is a person defined by her upbringing, abandoned by her mother, Helena, she is brought up by Bob owner of a local Torquay newsagent. Never married and no children of his own they somehow muddle through. He may not be the perfect role model or indeed her Father but he somehow steers Philippa in the right directions, even if at times she resented and was less appreciative of him. There were times when Philippa frustrated me but I think that’s because she herself didn’t know what she wanted or knew how to deal with situations. She was a person always looking for something, her place in the world, who to love, and ultimately a family. I felt the birth of her daughter was her second chance, the epithany where everything finally slotted into place and finally she could be who she wanted to be.
Philippa’s life is full of wonderful characters. None are more poignant than Lucas , who tragically dies young but forever remains in Philippa’s heart. His lasting legacy, a time capsule buried in Bob’s garden, will hold the answers to the many unanswered questions that Philippa carries with her throughout her forty years.
My favourite character had to be Wink, a formidable elderly lady with a parrot for a pet and an obsession with Bruce Forsyth and the Generation Game. She provided much of the humour and was the one of the constants in Philippa’s life. She never doubted Philippa, always believed that she would achieve whatever she wanted to.
What I loved most about Duffy’s novel was her ability to balance the light and the dark. It would have been so easy for Philippa’s story to be bogged down in all the serious issues that she had to face, yet Duffy managed to intersperse the dark times with great humour. One particular highlight had to be the royal wedding of Charles and Diana which I remember so well myself.
I felt a real connection with Philippa and I think it was because I shared so many of the events and TV programmes she remembers. I may not have had the same life issues but it was a connection that I rarely find in the many books that I read.
The Generation Game is a poignant novel, hugely emotive and filled with humour and most importantly full of hope. It is a novel about family and discovering who your family is even if they are not your blood relatives. It is a novel that I enjoyed immensely and I shall be seeking out and reading the Duffy’s other novels.
Thank you to Imogen Harris and Legend Press for inviting mybookishblogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
Sophie currently lives in Teignmouth, Devon with her husband and three children. The Generation Game was inspired by her childhood growing up in a sweet shop in Torquay.
Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophiestenduffy