Sunday, 11 November 2018

Thalidomide Kid by Kate Rigby + #Giveaway


Thalidomide Kid by Kate Rigby
First published by Bewrite Books in February 2007.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy via Rachel's Random Resources

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Add Thalidomide Kid to your Goodreads

Daryl Wainwright is the quirky youngest child of a large family of petty thieves and criminals who calls himself ‘Thalidomide Kid’.

Celia Burkett is the new girl at the local primary school, and the daughter of the deputy head at the local comprehensive where she is bound the following September. With few friends, Celia soon becomes fascinated by ‘the boy with no arms’. 

The story of a blossoming romance and sexual awakening between a lonely girl and a disabled boy, and their struggle against adversity and prejudice as they pass from primary to secondary school in 1970s Cirencester. The story deals with themes and issues that are timeless.


Thalidomide Kid is the second of Kate Rigby's novels I have enjoyed reading (the first being Far Cry From The Turquoise Room). Thalidomide Kid is set in the 1970s so about a decade before I was in my late-primary early-secondary school years, however a lot of the school and home situations reminded me of my own childhood. I also connected to Thalidomide Kid because a 'Thalidomide Man' lived along our road when I was growing up. I remember him being quite a bit older (although he couldn't have been That much older obviously and, like Daryl, his arms were very short. I didn't notice so much that he was different because, to my child's mind, he was normal for him, but I was absolutely fascinated by his adapted car!

The novel's atmosphere reminded me of David Mitchell's Black Swan Green. There are lots of nods to toys and fashions of the era and Celia Burkett's family are certainly more affluent than mine. We were the McDougall's flour and Silver Spoon sugar strata. My Mum had a similar opinion of ITV programming though! I liked the portrayals of both Celia and Daryl, both of whom came across as likeable people with the touching naivete of youth. I appreciated seeing how they mature over the course of the story. I did feel that the pace dragged at times with excessive repetition slowing the story. Also I had expected from the title that Daryl would take the leading role, but we seemed to see more from Celia's perspective and that of her family which was a shame as Daryl's clan sounded like a right shower!

I think Rigby has penned a genuine and empathetic story in Thalidomide Kid. Its 1970s-era setting means various characters make a lot of spiteful and nasty comments concerning disability, race, sexuality and gender. These are of course shocking to read, but are authentic to the time and I didn't feel that Rigby ever glamorised or promoted such behaviours in her characters. Instead, in the case of disability sterotyping at least, we see Daryl rise above both his disability and the stigma of his family background. Thalidomide Kid felt to me like a positive portrayal as well as an interesting and entertaining novel.

Meet the author

Kate Rigby was born near Liverpool and now lives in the south west of England.  She’s been writing for nearly forty years. She has been traditionally published, small press published and indie published.

She realized her unhip credentials were mounting so she decided to write about it. Little Guide to Unhip was first published in 2010 and has since been updated.

However she’s not completely unhip. Her punk novel, Fall Of The Flamingo Circus was published by Allison & Busby (1990) and by Villard (American hardback 1990). Skrev Press published her novels Seaview Terrace (2003) Sucka!(2004) and Break Point (2006) and other shorter work has appeared in Skrev’s magazines.

Thalidomide Kid was published by Bewrite Books (2007).

Her novel Savage To Savvy was an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) Quarter-Finalist in 2012.

She has had other short stories published and shortlisted including Hard Workers and Headboards, first published in The Diva Book of Short Stories, in an erotic anthology published by Pfoxmoor Publishing and more recently in an anthology of Awkward Sexcapades by Beating Windward Press.

She also received a Southern Arts bursary for her novel Where A Shadow Played (now re-Kindled as Did You Whisper Back?). She has re-Kindled her backlist and is gradually getting her titles (back) into paperback.

Author links: 
Website ~ BlogFacebook ~ Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ BookBub ~ Pinterest


And now it's time for the Giveaway!

Win 1 x signed copy of Thalidomide Kid.
Open internationally until the 14th November.

*Terms and Conditions –Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then RRR reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time RRR will delete the data. RRR is not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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7 comments:


  1. So many thanks for your insightful review and very pleased to hear that the book resonated with you :)

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  2. I did go to school with a boy affected by Thalidomide but he never let that stop him from doing anything. I like that this book is set in the late 70s since I remember how different a lot of thinking was at that time.

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    1. Yes, the thinking was very different back in the 60s and 70s when this book was set. It's good to hear that the boy you remember carried on as normal. There was a boy at one of my schools, just the same :)

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    2. Kate does a great job of portraying the casual way in which insulting words a phrases were just part of everyday language. I was shocked remembering

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  3. I'll confess that I had to look up Thalidomide. I knew I'd heard of it, but I couldn't remember much about it except that it was a drug. Seems like this book did a good job capturing that era and the struggles that people with disabilities went through.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. It certainly does and I hope Thalidomide Kid helps to reinforce how far we have come in our views of people who differ from ourselves in any way. It's very different now, but still not ideal I think

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