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Gloves Off by Louise Reid




2019

Lily and her mother are overweight, her mother possibly morbidly so.  Lily totally lacks confidence at school.  She has no friends and she is bullied.  Then Dad intervenes. He puts Lily on a fitness regime and then introduces her to a gym where she learns to box.    

Lilly becomes fitter and gains more confidence. She finds some friends. Rosie becomes a particularly close friend and they briefly start a lesbian relationship.  But Lily has to fight Rosie in the ring and she wins, but injures her friend. Their friendship cools a little. 

Lily stops going to the gym for a while but does return eventually.  Her friendship with Rosie continues but is not as intense. 

Meanwhile Mum begins to take a few steps to get her own body under control.  

We are left with hope at the end:  Lily seems set to continue with her boxing and her new friendships.  Mum is taking steps to deal with her own problems.  

The whole novel is written in verse.  This makes it quite a quick read but the emotional intensity remains intact.  The first person narrative helps us to feel close to Lily. Mum (Bernadette) also has a few interjections and again uses a first person narrative. 

The novel is 308 pages long in hard back. It uses as simple font for Lily and an adult one for Bernadette.   

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