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Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  497 Ratings  ·  111 Reviews
A dazzling new Scottish voice.

When Janie Ryan is born, she's just the latest in a long line of Ryan women, Aberdeen fishwives to the marrow, always ready to fight. Her violet-eyed Grandma had predicted she'd be sly, while blowing Benson and Hedges smoke rings over her Ma's swollen belly. In the hospital, her family eyed her suspiciously, so close she could smell whether th
Paperback, 272 pages
Published July 5th 2012 by Chatto & Windus
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Jan 30, 2015 Melki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mothers ruin
Their own little girls
Keep them dreaming
There's more to this world

Here's a conversation children should never have to have:

'Leanne, does your da hurt your ma?'

'Just when there's no' enough booze. Or too much. That's what ma says.'

'But yeh stop him, don't yeh? From hitting yer ma?'

'I would. I'd kick him in the balls when he hits her, but she told me the hits hurt more if there's someone watching. And the bruises are bigger.'

There is no question that Iris loves her young daughter, Jan
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

Janie Ryan narrates 'Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma' from the moment of her birth, greeted by curse laden screaming, boozy breath and muttered recriminations. Her teenage mother lasts barely a week under her mothers roof before she drags Janie first to a refuge, then through a series of rundown council flats and B&B's in the worst areas of Scotland and briefly, England. Uncle's come and go, some stay only a night, others, like Tony Hogan, far too long. As a chi
Lindsay (Little Reader Library)
Sep 14, 2012 Lindsay (Little Reader Library) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: debut
'We were a glass family, she was a glass ma and I needed to wrap us up, handle her gently.'

The fragility of this family's existence is evident early on, and throughout this wonderful debut novel, which arrested my attention from the very first words, as little Janie Ryan first comes into the world. She joins the family of 'Ryan Women, with filthy tempers, filthy mouths and big bruised muscles for hearts.'

Janie recounts her very personal story to us throughout the whole novel, and this is certa
Dec 28, 2012 Elaine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Seems like I'm in the minority in not enjoying this one. It was certainly a vivid (and from the limited experience I had in the early 90s with Scottish council estates and people living from dole check to dole check, very realistic) depiction of growing up in desparate poverty in Britain's very recent past, surrounded by alcoholism, drugs, violence, where employment isn't even seriously considered as an option and the "social" provides all the means of living, such as they are. But I found the b ...more
Tayari Jones
Dec 28, 2013 Tayari Jones rated it really liked it
This is a really good book with a not-so-great-title (or cover.) I love coming of age stories and this one does not disappoint. Janie has a wonderful voice and the author is very brave with some of her point of view decisions. An infant narrating from a crib? But Kerry Hudson pulls it off.

I saw that some of the reviewers here found it grim. I will admit there is sorrow here, but it is tempered with real love and affection. I am eager to read whatever Kerry Hudson writes next.
Janie is born to a single mother who comes from a long line of tough fishmonger women, the Ryan women, to be exact. Her life is one of poverty, constant moves to estate flats in bad parts of town, welfare and an extremely dysfunctional family and depressed mother. At one point, her mother marries a ne'er do well alcoholic and bears a second child. He abandons the family a few short weeks later. Janie tries to help care for her baby sister, as well as her depressed mother.

it sounds like an extrem
Feb 06, 2014 Garry rated it it was amazing
I was attracted to the title, but have been burned by books with quirky titles. I bought it, but then got really nervous. The overly cute cover didn't help.

The quirky title and overly cute cover were slightly deceiving. The first hint came in the first line......

Get out, you cunting, shitting, little fucking fucker.

Oh, by the way, if you can't handle a bit of swearing this isn't a book for you.

The narrator is Janie Ryan, born in a bad part of Aberdeen to a young single mother. Her upbringing is
Hayley Stewart
Jul 20, 2012 Hayley Stewart rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
Full review can be found here

Janie Ryan is born to a long line of Aberdeen fish wives and into a childhood of living in hostels, B&Bs and council estates. This book follows the trials and tribulations of growing up with a mother who, whilst always wanting to provide the best for her child, has poor taste in men and really does get close to hitting rock bottom all shown through the eyes of a child.

...Throughout most of the book I'd say that her innocence protects Janie from what could've been
Sep 05, 2013 Kim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Despite repeated temptations to give up on this book, I persisted. Unfortunately, what I thought or even hoped might happen to transform the story by the end did not.

As another reviewer noted, the writer brings this world vividly to life, and I have no doubt of its being a realistic world familiar to many -- but, like that of Trainspotting, it is not a world in which I would ever really want to be so immersed. There are strong, clear details and interesting imagery that surround the reader with
Lech Mintowt-czyz
Aug 29, 2012 Lech Mintowt-czyz rated it it was amazing
This is a cracking read. Told first-person from the moment of birth it takes you to some pretty dark corners of British life. It’s unflinching in its treatment of the subject matter – domestic abuse and extreme poverty among them – and the nicely-played vein of humour is never used as an easy exit.
It is beautifully written with finely observed detail throughout. The plot is understated and all the better for that – this is not a book that is seeking to throw you around for the hell of it but ins
For Books' Sake
Oct 29, 2012 For Books' Sake rated it it was amazing
"Kerry Hudson’s début novel, Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma was recently announced on the long list for the Guardian First Book Award 2012.

A story loosely based on Hudson’s own childhood, growing up in various council estates and caravan parks, critics have praised her sharp eye for idiosyncrasy have proven united in their opinion that Hudson has created a cast of characters that it is impossible not to root for." (Excerpt from full review at For Books' Sake.)
R. C.
Apr 17, 2014 R. C. rated it it was amazing
A thunderstorm of a novel. Actually, more like a thunderstorm of a protagonist. Swooped in hard and fast with the first paragraph and held me thrilled, hostage, til the end of the book. I'm going to remember Janie like a best friend.
Amy Plum
Oct 17, 2012 Amy Plum rated it it was amazing
Hudson adds just enough comic relief to the heartbreak to ensure that you fall hard for her characters. What a beautifully written book.
Phil Jones
Apr 08, 2015 Phil Jones rated it did not like it
Dreadful, dreadful book. I'd give it a minus 5 if I could. Why anyone would choose to write a 'story' that's simply a banal and mostly tedious diary documenting the miserable life of a young girl from birth to sixteen beats me. The style of writing screams Creative Writing Course. Every other sentence is an attempt to describe something 'normal' in a way it's never been described before. Unfortunately the metaphors and similes are mostly wasted because the story is a dud.

The fact that the narrat
Feb 02, 2014 Kate rated it really liked it
See my full review here: http://booksaremyfavouriteandbest.wor...

“‘Get out, you c**ting, sh**ting, little fu**ing fu**er!’ were the first words I ever heard. The midwife, a shiny-faced woman who learned entirely new turns of phrase that night, smoothed Ma’s hair.’

Is that not the most impressive opening line you’ve read? It’s certainly memorable. And so begins Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma by Kerry Hudson.

It’s not just the opening line and the title that’s arrestin
Jan 30, 2014 Gaele rated it really liked it
A debut author, a child’s narrative voice, and the underbelly of society: the forgotten, the ignored, the have-nots are beautifully portrayed and described in this book. Any one of these elements could have brought the story into a confused muddle, or taken maudlin to the level of lecture and harangue, yet Kerry Hudson uses not inconsiderable skill to show moments of hope and great insight as we follow young Janie on her travels as she grows.

Born to a teenage mother and into a family of women w
Tom Abbott
Jan 20, 2014 Tom Abbott rated it it was amazing
'And so that first promise of silence shattered inside of me like the twist of a kaleidoscope; to be joined by so many more jagged secrets, pushed into a little body for safe keeping until they threatened to cut their way out.'

The highlight of my weekend has been reading Kerry Hudson's first novel, 'Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma' and finding myself - without letup - deeply absorbed in her tonally pitch-perfect coming-of-age story.

I was immediately taken with how t
Matt Cresswell
Jan 20, 2014 Matt Cresswell rated it it was amazing
Janie Ryan is born (accompanied by an opening line of eye-watering expletives) to a family of Aberdeen fishwives, and within weeks is turfed onto the streets in the arms of her Ma, fetching up on the rainy doorstep of a woman’s shelter. The book takes us through her life from birth to the summer of her sixteenth birthday, bouncing from council tenement to halfway house, from abusive to feckless boyfriend, finally fetching up on the shores of Great Yarmouth.

Ordinarily, I’d be incredibly unlikely
Amanda - Go Book Yourself
Jan 15, 2014 Amanda - Go Book Yourself rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction

A review copy was provided by Penguin in return for an honest review

Ill admit that it was the title that originally drew me to this book. It's gutsy but it fits the story so well. Nothing about the story is rose tinted. This is real life, and it ain't pretty.

When the first words you here in life are " Get out, you cunting, shitting, little fucking fucker!" you just know you're not going to have it easy. The world in not prepared for Janie and and Janie is not ready for the world but what it i
Sharon Burgin
Jul 14, 2012 Sharon Burgin rated it really liked it
Debut novels are usually loosely autobiographical, drawing on the author’s life experiences. Kerry Hudson spent a lot of her young life growing up on Council Estates and in B&Bs. These experiences have allowed her to paint a very vivid and believable picture, bringing the character of Janie Ryan and her family to life.

The story is told wholly through Janie’s eyes and words, from the day that she was born. There are sad moments, some laugh out loud funny moments and times when you feel sorry
Shaz Goodwin
Aug 24, 2012 Shaz Goodwin rated it liked it
Tony Hogan begins with Janie’s birth and what the family think she might grow up to be. The reader is introduced to her extended family. Janie’s granny is not there to bring them home from the hospital – she’s gone out to play bingo – and when they get home, there’s a note left on Iris’ (her mother’s) bed:

“Well, my wee one, Granny wants us tae run out for some milk an’ twenty Benson & Hedges. Welcome fuckin’ home.”

It’s not long before Iris argues with her mother and leaves home. She goes to
David Hebblethwaite
Nov 14, 2012 David Hebblethwaite rated it really liked it
Boasting one of the best (and longest) titles I’ve come across in ages, Kerry Hudson’s debut chronicles the childhood of one Janie Ryan. Born to a single mother in Aberdeen (her American father having long since disappeared from their lives), Janie is a battler from the start (‘fishwives to the marrow, [the Ryan Women] were always ready to fight and knew the places that would cut deepest,’ p. 1). Janie’s childhood is spent in a succession of B&Bs and run-down council properties; and her moth ...more
Jul 08, 2012 CuteBadger rated it really liked it
Janie Ryan is born to a single mother in Aberdeen and lives on the bottom rung of society. Her childhood consists of dangerous housing estates, B&Bs, a long parade of sometimes violent "uncles" and the frequent need to move house in a hurry. The book follows her from birth to leaving school and sees the world around her through Janie's eyes.

I read this book at a single sitting as, once I'd started, I wanted to know how it came out. Janie is a warm and observant character who, as a child, doe
Susan Bybee
Dec 29, 2014 Susan Bybee rated it really liked it
Gritty novel about growing up in council housing in and around Aberdeen, Scotland. Hudson makes an interesting narrative choice is having Janie Ryan narrate what she observes around her from the very moment she emerges from the womb. According to Janie, who is descended from fishwives, the first words she hears are part of a profanity-laden, end-of-labor invective. Hudson's writing is compelling and a little rough around the edges. Certain sections of the novel seem less developed than others, ...more
Melanie Coombes
Feb 24, 2014 Melanie Coombes rated it really liked it
This is described as a coming of age novel of the main character, Janie Ryan. She is born in Scotland, to a dirt poor, drunk of a mother who is in one bad relationship after another. The story was intense, witty, and incredibly sad all at the same time. It was depressing to see what Janie had to deal with growing up. Janie has the toughest of circumstances. Born into this life, she seems already doomed to just repeat the same cycle of her mother. Janie was such a great character. You can't help ...more
Karen Clarke
Jan 10, 2013 Karen Clarke rated it it was amazing
I loved this beautifully written, sharply observed novel. Despite the mostly grim circumstances of the feisty heroine there was plenty of warmth and humour throughout. Janie is an original and engaging voice, easy to relate to in spite of everything, and it was interesting (and horrifying in parts) to read a story about people on the outskirts of society - the sort of people we perhaps turn away from in real life - feel uncomfortable being around.

The Yarmouth setting is well-observed, and the re
Margot McCuaig
Apr 02, 2014 Margot McCuaig rated it it was amazing
I'm surprised at some of the negative reviews below, this is an incredible book. Janie's voice is strong and poetic and the way she unfolds her mother's story from her point of view from birth and beyond is as close as she can get without being under her mother's skin. And I felt I was under her skin, a sad and hard-hitting character who is here and everywhere. This story will resonate with more people than anyone would ever wish for. This book has the lowest lows and yet in the end, a glimmer o ...more
Michelle Jones
Mar 08, 2014 Michelle Jones rated it it was amazing
When I picked this book up and read the back, I was expecting a story about someone in their late teens/twenties/early thirties choosing to change their path in life. How wrong I was. This is a story about childhood and teenage years, told through a child's eye. It takes the reader back to their own childhood and how they understood the world around them.

As Janie's childhood takes place in the same decades as my own I totally related to all the cultural references - including swapping Keanu Ree
Jul 28, 2012 Claire rated it really liked it
Ahhh, I think I'd give it a 3.5 if I was able. Overall, it was a great read- and though I read it with conviction, I don't think I was really invested in the characters until 200 pages in. Maybe that's how it's supposed to be, though, because there's not a whole lot of likeability to be found in Ma, her men, or her family. I liked Janie, but could never put my finger on her enough (all of a sudden she was six, and then eleven, etc) to really connect until (what I think were) her high school year ...more
May 03, 2015 Cmorice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
La phrase d'ouverture donne le ton : la petite Janie Ryan est accueillie dans ce monde par une flopée d’injures lancées par sa mère Iris, en proie aux douleurs de l’accouchement. Projetée au milieu des cris, des fumées de cigarettes, des vapeurs d’alcool, mais aussi de beaucoup d’amour, Janie est la dernière-née d’une famille hautement dysfonctionnelle.
Dans une langue saisissante et originale, entre rire et larmes, elle remonte à ses premiers jours pour nous raconter son enfance écossaise entre
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Kerry Hudson was born in Aberdeen. Growing up in a succession of council estates, B&Bs and caravan parks provided her with a keen eye for idiosyncratic behaviour, material for life, and a love of travel.

Her first novel, TONY HOGAN BOUGHT ME AN ICE-CREAM FLOAT BEFORE HE STOLE MY MA, was published by Chatto & Windus in Summer 2012. It has since been shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Aw
More about Kerry Hudson...

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“We left the nursery in silence, Ma smoking a roll-up, looking like she hadn’t slept in a week or maybe like she had slept for a whole week. When the nursery was just a grubby finger smudge behind us Ma looked down at me and said in her poshed-up telephone voice: “Will you speak to Janie about swearing? Fuckin’ busybody!”

I laughed and swung our linked hands.

“Aye, fuckin’ busybody.”

Pleas of laughter escaped us and spiraled up into the hot, blue Scottish sky. We laughed all the way home”
“Tony smothered the life that me and Ma had built, a furry mould growing over a sweating slab of cheese.” 0 likes
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