How I Killed Margaret Thatcher by Anthony Cartwright

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How I Killed Margaret Thatcher by Anthony Cartwright

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Buy How I Killed Margaret Thatcher by Anthony Cartwright at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Literary Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Louise Jones
Reviewed by Louise Jones
Summary: A young boy watches his life crumble around him and becomes fixated on the idea of removing the cause of the trouble: Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 241 Date: April 2013
Publisher: Tindal Street
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781781251577

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What motivates someone to become a killer?

When the reader first meets Sean Bull, he is nine years old, living a seemingly carefree and happy existence surrounded by his family and friends in a close-knit community in Dudley, West Midlands. He loves Star Wars and playing football with his school friends and adores his teenage uncle Johnny, who tells him stories and creates the most wonderful pieces of art.

However, times are changing for Sean and the next five years will see him transform dramatically from an innocent child to a would-be assassin. As a new Prime-Minister takes her position, the ramifications of her policies reverberate through the country, the region and into the heart of Sean’s family itself. Unemployment, loss and tragedy shape his fragile mind into considering the unthinkable: killing Margaret Thatcher with the gun that his granddad keeps locked away in the shed.

The book starts light-heartedly enough. Having a young boy as narrator deceives the reader into thinking that this may be a gentle, humorous read. As the book continues however, it takes on a much darker tone, as paranoia and hate begin to twist Sean’s perception of the cause behind the tragic events affecting his family and community.

Anthony Cartwright was born in Dudley, so the locations and local dialect used in the book are spot-on. As a fellow Midlander, I found it refreshing to see so many references to familiar places, such as Dudley Zoo and the rock houses at Kinver Edge. The Black Country slang was word perfect, including terms like our kid and yow cor.

Unfortunately, I did think that parts of the story were overdone. At times, this account of Sean’s youth reads more like the Biblical account of Job, with Cartwright dishing out increasingly intense plagues upon the poor boy and tipping the scales into the boundaries of incredulity.

How I Killed Margaret Thatcher is an intensely dark story that aims to be both provocative and controversial. Judging by the public reaction to the recent news of Thatcher’s death, there are many people that feel as vehemently and passionately as the characters in the book about her eventful time in power. The reader is left with much food for thought; if someone had succeeded in assassinating Mrs Thatcher, would she have ascended to some mythical, godlike status? Would her killer be viewed as a hero or a villain?

For a more upbeat, lighthearted view of the same time period, try Teenage Revolution: Growing Up in the 80s by Alan Davies

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Buy How I Killed Margaret Thatcher by Anthony Cartwright at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy How I Killed Margaret Thatcher by Anthony Cartwright at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy How I Killed Margaret Thatcher by Anthony Cartwright at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy How I Killed Margaret Thatcher by Anthony Cartwright at Amazon.com.

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