It was the hedgehog (melon wrapped in silver foil) and spiked with cheese and pickled onion nibbles that got my attention…..
I was given the book, along with a handful of others, by Writing West Midlands and it sat on my shelf for a few weeks because, judging by the cover (see alongside), I wasn’t sure it was my kind of book.
I can’t remember why or when I dipped in but I was hooked and delighted I did. Annie, the central character of the novel is a wonderfully complex creation. She’s morbidly obese and lonely but always hopeful things will get better and by turns obsessive, loving, needy, frightening, resilient and desperate.
Annie is in search of love and focuses her attentions on the guy next door, but her size brings a number of encounters with men out to use her. In less able hands Annie’s escapades could easily have made her into a difficult and deranged character we feel no sympathy for, but she is a survivor and the book is full of humour.
So many books are set in London or other major global cities so I particularly enjoyed Ashworth’s setting of coastal Lancashire.
I passed the book onto my wife and she was hooked too.
As for the spiky hedgehog – I had to tweet Jenn Ashworth about that. My mum and her friends used to do the same thing for kids’ parties. A powerful childhood memory. I look forward to reading more of Jenn’s books.
Her website, featuring some great images, can be found here.