A Good Hiding | Book Review

A Good Hiding | Book Review

By Conor O’Neill

Lisburn born Shirley-Ann McMillan has delivered a cracker of a novel. Teenage pregnancy, domestic violence, homophobia and a tell-a-tale pink bra all feature in this story of friendship, blackmail, runaways and prayers to the Lord from a morally strangled-by-nature vicar, making A Good Hiding a damn good reading.

Plot – simple. A teenage girl, namely Nollaig, is trouble and her gay best friend Stephen share chapter to chapter of first person active voice introspection. Reverend Brian gets caught in the crossfire against his will, but will he survive? This novel is deliciously stark yet written with Northern Irish humour with the Pound Shop, the Spar, Goths in front of City Hall. This book has it all. The pace is frantic; suspense hangs on every opening sentence of every chapter, the end of which has you licking your finger as your hand turns the page with anticipation.

A Good Hiding is under the genre of teen/adolescence. Normally, as adults, we walk past that section in bookstores. Never again. Paraphrasing Aristotle, ‘Everything must be categorised’. Such a shame. McMillan’s dialogue, characters, subject matter and tickling little moments of child-like tee nage wonder such as games of scoring celebs’ looks out of 10 and seeing who can put the most marshmallows in their gob, bring enthralling characters to life.

Great read. Go buy!

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