It was on a Sunday night in 1928 that Billy Hopkins made his first appearance, while his father, who had already welcomed five children into the world, downed pints of Boddington’s in the pub. Billy’s tenement home on the outskirts of Manchester would be considered a slum today, but he lived there happily with his large Catholic family, hatching moneymaking schemes with his many friends. As Billy grew up, under the strict eye of his father and the firm discipline of teachers who did not always fully appreciate Billy’s sense of humour, the names Hitler and Mussolini were becoming ominously familiar to all.
When war came, and the Luftwaffe dominated the night sky, Billy was evacuated to Blackpool. There he lived on a starvation diet while his own rations went to feed his landlady’s children – ‘I might as well be in Strangeways!’ But here too he enjoyed his first romance – considerably more straightforward than those that were to follow!
Even the cruel blows that were to be dealt to the family on his return to Manchester would not destroy Billy’s fighting spirit.
OUR KID is a delightful evocation of a northern boyhood. Nostalgic, sad and funny, it recalls an upbringing and an environment now vanished.
All the books have been published by World Book Club.
Our Kid was World Book Club’s Book of The Month in 1999.
All the books have also been published in large print versions by:
Magna Large Print Books, North Yorkshire, BD23 4ND.
All the books have been done on audio cassettes read by:
Christopher Kay of BBC by Soundings, Kings Drive, Whitley Bay, T & W NE26 2JT.
In the case of OUR KID, a version on 14 CDs has been produced by the same company (Soundings).
Both Our Kid & Kate’s Story have also been transcribed into Braille.