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Becoming Nancy

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  131 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
For David Starr, being cast as Nancy in the upcoming school production of Oliver! is quite a shock. But David is up to the challenge. Living in a three-bedroom semi in 1970s' working-class East Dulwich, surrounded by his somewhat colourful relatives, he is bright, smart-mouthed, fanatical about pop music and ready to shine. Rehearsals begin, and he strikes up a friendship ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 14th 2011 by Bantam Press (first published April 9th 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 241)
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Andrew Marshall
This is a sweet and engaging story about coming to terms with who you are set against the seventies in East Dulwich, London. Sadly, you don't really get a sense of place and the era is captured by the usual easy memories that crop up time and again whenever film makers evoke the era - like Abba and Debby Harry. The result is that you don't really feel the writer lived through the period.
Scott Matthewman
Sep 23, 2015 Scott Matthewman rated it liked it
A fairly standard gay coming of age story. The first person narrative often hints at big events in the main character's past, which would work if the events in question weren't quite so banal and predictable. At some points, the narrative jumps forward several days so that the lead character can talk mysteriously about the events in between. How much better it would be to follow David's story from start to finish, allowing the author to find the dramatic moments in each scene from character rath ...more
Jul 26, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book details what being gay was like in the seventies for teenagers and it was shocking. I’m not naive enough to think that the things that happened here never happened but I have never experienced them so the horribleness of it all really struck me. I grew up in Bradford in the eighties and so I am no stranger to racism either but being on the outside looking in you do not get the same revulsion as someone living it. The descriptions of the verbal and physical abuse were vivid and disturbi ...more
Dec 18, 2015 Vermillion rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I wanted to like this book much more than I did. The synopsis on the back of the book looked promising; music obsessed secondary school kid comes to terms with being gay in 1970's East Dulwich against a backdrop of collisions between the National Front & the Anti Nazi League. But alarm bells started ringing for me when I saw that most of the accolades for this book were from author Terry Ronald's celebrity friends, Kylie and Danni Minogue, and Heat magazine (not known for its literary prowes ...more
Aug 14, 2013 Louise rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 07, 2015 Nicola rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I adored this book- a kind of "Adrian Mole" for adults....

Story of David, who is coming to terms with his sexuality in the 70's as well as dealing with all the angst of a teenager, school politics, friendships, first love etc. (I'm sure we all remember that time in our lives, gay or otherwise!!)

A very touching and often funny read, all in all, a sweet story inspired by the writers own emotions and experiences. I couldn't put it down and often found myself laughing out loud at Davids family and g
Kirsty (overflowing library)
I must admit this isn't a book I normally would pick up. I read very little adult fiction but was pitched it for review saying it was very much a cross over novel and I agreed to give it a go and I'm so glad I did.

I thought David was a brilliant character. We met him as he has just about come clear in his mind about his own sexuality and follow him as he comes out to his friends an family. I though he was really warm and geniune and loved the relationships he had with the people around him.

I lov
Library Quine
This is an interesting book, and I was drawn to it for a number of reasons. Geographically speaking it is based in an area that I became familiar with as a student; moving to London south of the river was part adventure, part rebellion for me. The time frame is also one that I was familiar with; the events, the marches, the music - I even attended one of the rallies and concerts described in the book. I haven't read much LGBT lit, and wanted to become more familiar with the genre. But, because I ...more
Carol Peace
May 27, 2012 Carol Peace rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started this book 2 days ago and I couldnt put it down. The main character David Starr is and adolescent at school when he is picked to play Nancy in the school play of Oliver. The plot is set in the 1970's and the whole music, tv and home life are right there in that era, its a funny but also down to earth portrayal of that era. David takes on the role of is he or isn't he attracted to men and the whole problems that would surround a schoolboy at that time but David seems older than his years ...more
Jan 21, 2016 Molly rated it it was amazing
I think this is a really good book! Covers so many topics about rasism, homophobia, young and first love, and so much more. I truly recommend this book- you might learn any new words! 5 stars!
Nov 11, 2015 JOSEPH OLIVER rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gay, biography
This is the second re reading of this novel. If you like coming of age novels/autobiographies then you will like this one - especially if you lived through the '70s as you will get the cultural references. It's also a photograph in time for anyone born after 1990 who will be amazed and shocked at what was acceptable in school and on the streets at that time.

For me it wasn't laugh out loud really but humour is very particular to the person so that doesn't really mean anything. It has a balanced
John Jones
Jul 20, 2014 John Jones rated it it was amazing
Laugh out loud gay memoir. What a find!! Its brilliant!
Aug 02, 2014 Sean rated it it was amazing
A truly endearing tale of love, heartbreak and growing up as a gay teenager! Well worth the read!
Jul 04, 2014 Merel rated it really liked it
I loved this book. Very funny but also thoughtfully written.
Mark Satchwill
Apr 13, 2013 Mark Satchwill rated it it was amazing
Really loved this book. It's basically a coming out/falling in love for the first time novel set in 1979. I was a teenager at the time as the novel is set (though slightly younger) and I so identified with the main character and the emotional turmoil, and the author throws in all sorts of cultural references that might not mean much to a younger audience but give a lovely nostalgic feeling to someone of my age who grew up at that time. It made me laugh out loud and shed a tear. Highly enjoyable.
Thomas Doran
Apr 12, 2012 Thomas Doran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent and gripping. I had high expectations for this book and they were definitely met. It was really gripping and I found it hard to put down. It was very funny as well, and the character development throughout the book was wonderful, and I also felt the characters to be somewhat realistically portrayed as well. Highly recommend this book.
Nadja A.
Berührende Coming-of-Age Geschichte mit einem symphatischen Hauptcharakter und gelungenem Ende. Manchmal hat der Schreibstil ein bisschen genervt (Erinnerungen, Geschehnisse vorheriger Tage eingeschoben), weil so der Lesefluss verlangsamt wurde, aber irgendwie hat das eben doch gepasst.
Chris Hinchley
Mar 17, 2014 Chris Hinchley rated it liked it
A good feel for the period (1979 was the year I left school) but some dreadful sub-Eastenders dialogue and a vaguely unlikeable main character makes this a 'Beautiful Thing' wannabee.
Apr 16, 2012 Andii rated it it was amazing
Shelves: glbt, gt, favourites
A beautiful tale of growing up gay in the late 1970s, with scenes that made me cry and others that made me laugh (and even a few that verge on erotica...). A very enjoyable read.
Michael Lloyd
Apr 09, 2012 Michael Lloyd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A deftly constructed gay coming-of-age novel, steeped in early-Thatcher era pop culture and with a warm and charming narrative voice to carry the reader through it.
Aug 28, 2011 Terri rated it it was amazing
A very funny book that I couldn't put down, an emotional journey, a great read, highly recommended!
Mar 19, 2012 Jenni marked it as did-not-finish
Loved the sound of this but it just didn't grab me, read the first 100 pages or so but it wasn't for me.
May 26, 2013 Andrew rated it really liked it
Gay youth in the late 1970s. Loved it, but definitely for older teenagers and adults.
Aug 11, 2011 Katy rated it it was amazing
this book is a joy and i would read it again and again
Aug 30, 2012 Robin rated it it was amazing
Absolutely marvellous. Would love a sequel.
Louisa Steel
Dec 22, 2014 Louisa Steel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Coming of age in 70s Britain
May 27, 2013 Eric rated it it was amazing
Zachary rated it it was amazing
May 23, 2016
Ashley Hill
Ashley Hill marked it as to-read
May 13, 2016
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