What Da Cover Says: Before Adam Farrer’s family relocated to Withernsea in 1992, he’d never heard of the Holderness coast. The move represented one thing to Adam: a chance to leave the insecurities of early adolescence behind. And he could do that anywhere. What he didn’t know was how much he’d grow to love the quirks and people of this faded Yorkshire resort, in spite of its dilapidated attractions and retreating clifftops.
While Adam documents the minutiae of small-town life, he lays bare experiences that are universal. His insights on family, friendship, male mental health and suicide are revealed in stories of reinvention, rapacious seagulls, interdimensional werewolves, burlesque dancing pensioners, and his compulsion towards the sea.
What I Says: I do like it when somebody sets out to write a book and they lose all control to the book itself, Farrer is commissioned to write about a small Seaside town that is slowly losing it’s battle with the sea and ends up writing a love story about said town, after baring his soul to the reader. The book starts off quite dark, on the edge of a cliff, battling with his insecurities and looking for a reason to not give up…up steps Withernsea, it’s people and an awesome old dog called Millie.
Farrer shares with us the state of his mental health, he takes us through his life trying to understand how he is like he is and all the events that have shaped the man he is. He also shares with us his family, including his adorable mum, the conversations they have are so funny, I was guffawing like an idiot at her defence of gulls and Farrer trying to provoke her into admitting she was wrong. If you have ever seen Jack Whitehall’s travels with my father then you’ll understand the dynamic between the pair of them, it is the sort of relationship you wish you could have with a parent…in fact I demand a TV show with the pair of them. There is a lot of discussion about death (Withernsea seems to get a rather large share) and how it affects those left behind, and these scenes are written with such care that you also feel the loss…but when Farrer’s sense of humour kicks in it feels like the sun breaking through the dark clouds on a typical summer’s day, very uplifting.
Each chapter is set up like a mini essay, Farrer takes a minor event or comment and rolls with it, where it leads is always interesting….Werewolves from another dimension, evil gulls that rob shops, burlesque shows and an army of windmills. Farrer meets some interesting people during his research, from a guy who takes a photo of a pebble every day to an old chap who once ate a gull. Farrer’s love for Withernsea really shows on these pages and I was left wondering when he started this book did he realise how much the place had got under his skin? I really liked the last chapter, an unique and interesting way to do a conclusion, create a virtual museum and decide what you would include that shows what a place means to you.
I’ve seen somebody compare Farrer’s writing to Alan Bennett and I can 100% see that, the wonderful characters and wit feels very much like the lady in the van. I have enjoyed every page, all the lows, all the highs and the many many laughs. Now get on and make me that TV show!
This was my stop of the Cold Fish Soup Blog Tour thanks to Random Things Tours and Saraband Books for including me, make sure you check out the other reviews. If you want the book you can get a copy from HERE:
About The Author: Adam Farrer is a writer and editor who has performed at festivals and events including Manchester Literature Festival and the Northern Lights Writers Conference. His work has been published in the anthology Test Signal and he edits the creative non-fiction journal The Real Story, as well as teaching writing workshops. Cold Fish Soup is his first book. Adam Farrer has previously been a photo lab technician, a kitchen porter, the voice of an automated phone system, an illustrator, ceramicist, musician, music journalist, and he currently works at the University of Salford. He is available for interview.