My book, Penny for the Guy Mr Olivier is available on Amazon for free for three days starting 5th November at 11.59pm.
It's time, Mikey Cleary decides at the age of very nearly twelve, to put away childish things.
He is a bright boy from a working class, Anglo-Irish family in nineteen-sixties London who wants to understand what's going on around him. But he lives in a confusion of worlds, each with its own senseless rules and bizarre inhabitants.
Why does police constable 'Killer' Wells chase Jim the Bookie and never catch him?
Why won't Mikey's father talk about the War? The streets around Mikey's house were flattened by the German bombers just twenty years before. Everyone else goes on about the War all the time, but Mikey's dad won't talk about it; he won't even tell his son how he won his gold medal.
How should he react to the Paki family that's moved into the street, or the black man working with his brothers?
Why is Mrs McCrossley, tone deaf, maybe stone deaf, and exuding old lady fumes, teaching Music Appreciation at the London Oratory School for Bewildered Boys?
Mikey's most pressing problem is his lack of interest in girls. Everyone else he knows is obsessed with them, but Mikey hasn't the faintest glimmer of curiosity: he can take them or leave them, truth be told.
Penny for the Guy Mr Olivier is a warm and humorous coming-of-age romp through the streets of South London, across the stage at the Old Vic theatre, over the River and up West to Mikey's snooty school in South Kensington.
Mikey meets a cast of characters not only at the Old Vic, where Peter O'Toole plays a reluctant Hamlet in Laurence Olivier's production, but on the streets outside, as his friends and neighbours act out their dramas of everyday life and love.
Mikey confronts issues of sexuality and racism, and he learns the value of family, loyalty and community.
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