Em – ‘A day in the life of a northern girl’
‘Em’ will introduce you to Emily Macklam, a tenacious nineteen year old Hartlepool girl struggling to hold together the remnants of a family, despite attempts to suck the very life blood from her as she works and schemes to keep food on the table. She is forced to manage her young life around a poorly functioning but calculating alcoholic mother and a defiantly delinquent teenage brother, someone determined to plot a life path in partnership with dangerous, criminal company. This determined young lady is therefore left to fight each day for her sanity and the ability to facilitate her dream of finally moving away from a clinging dysfunctional family and creating a new life in London, a place she feels sure is filled with limitless opportunity for a determined working girl.
Emily’s father has never been anything more than a memory to her. Having died when she was only four years old, from diseased lungs chocked with coal dust due to a lifetime working at the coal face, he leaves the Macklam family with nothing more than a small, inadequate miner’s pension. Emily, from her early teenage years has therefore been forced to take up the role of carer to her mother, a role she knows she will end up playing for the best years of her life if she doesn’t simply plan to escape!
This story is written in twenty four chapters, one for each hour of just one day in the life of Emily Macklam. Minute by minute we see her day develop from struggling to raise her sickly mother from her bed, fighting off the unwelcome advances of an amorous boss, tackling a determined shoplifter, standing her ground against overzealous, hackneyed social workers and finding a hurried, slightly desperate physical love in the embers of a fiery night out with ‘the girls’.
A sometimes sad but often amusing story, with witty dialogue, carefully constructed conversations and set in the ‘here and now’, opens up the life of Emily providing an insight into her daily struggle, coping simply with living on the one hand and revealing her innate northern wisdom and wit on the other. This story is therefore an observation, a narration exposing the gritty reality of walking in the footsteps of our heroine ... and surviving, for just one particular day; one day in the life of ‘Em’ ... a ‘Northern Girl’.