Book Review: Me Mam, Me Dad, Me by Malcolm Duffy

Me Mam, Me Dad, Me is the brilliant debut novel by Malcolm Duffy. Malcolm recently wrote a post for me about his inspirations behind this novel, which you can read here. There are some really distressing scenes of domestic violence in this book: if that is something that triggers you, then this probably isn’t the book for you.


This book is written entirely in Geordie dialect., from the viewpoint of Danny. I’m not a born Geordie myself, but I like to consider myself an adopted one having lived here for fourteen years. My son was born here though and has the cutest Geordie accent, so it was lovely for me to read a book written in the dialect I hear every day. It is set in places I recognise and see all the time, and it is just completely lush to have a book set up here in Newcastle. Malcolm has also perfectly captured the voice of young Danny, which really makes this book stand out.

Danny is a sweet young boy. He loves his mam, he describes his life as “canny”. His dad doesn’t live with him and his mum doesn’t have a lot of money but he’s happy. He has a lovely girlfriend, Amy, who he describes as having “a smile that proves she’s got an electric toothbrush”. He is unique and really funny, although he doesn’t realise it.

Then his mum meets Callum and moves in with him and everything changes for Danny. Callum has a lot of money, a nice house and can give Danny all the material things he needs. He also beats Danny’s mum. It starts of with small incidents, but it soon progresses. Callum is aggressive, violent, and just plain nasty. He calls Danny “General” and asks him to report back on his mum. Through Danny’s eyes we see Callum gradually erode his Mam’s confidence. Danny nicknames him FB (Fat Bastard). Callum made me feel on edge all the time. I found myself bracing when he came into the story. Everything he said and did made me feel really on edge, and angry.

Danny feels like he needs to do something. He first turns to google and discovers a statistic that really sticks with him throughout the story: two women are killed every week through domestic violence. Danny is determined that won’t happen to his mum. So, he sets out to ask his friends “what do you do when someone’s beating your Mam?” and when he asls around at school, everyone says the same thing: they’d tell their dad. One problem: Danny doesn’t know who his dad is. His juvenile logic leads him to go looking for his dad and this takes Danny on an adventure up to Edinburgh where he meets his dad and tries to convince him to kill Callum. Just like that. Obviously, Stevie isn’t fully on board with that.

I’m not sure I fully bought into the idea that Auntie Tina would just give Danny his dad’s address without speaking to his mum – she seemed much too sensible for that, but it made for a good story. Stevie, Danny’s dad was another great character. I’d have liked to get to the bottom of the mystery around why he disappeared, but I grew to like him quite a lot. I also found myself feeling quite sad for Danny’s mum and at other times quite cross that she wasn’t doing more to protect Danny. This is a book which brings up a lot of feelings. It’s a great read, with a great setting and Danny is the most lovely character. Highly recommended.


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