Kirkland Ciccone’s latest novel, "Sadie, Call The Polis", follows the ups and downs of the life of Sadie Relish as she journeys from childhood to adulthood. Sadie is a girl whose family life is far from normal - in any sense of the word - and her approach to life can be described less as easy going and more as take it by the throat and throttle it!
There is much natural humour in this book: the kind that makes you laugh out loud when something happens and it comes out either as so unexpected, so outrageous or so character-defining of Sadie. She is no shrinking violet. She knows she isn't popular and that really doesn't bother her. She has enough friends at any one time to be able to muddle through. When those close to her take themselves out of her life, she merely shrugs it off and moves on. Sadie looks for joy in the smallest things, but she does hold grudges. Throughout a life that no one could ever describe as easy, she cherishes her family and friends, often despite the way that they treat her. She holds onto the precious memories but is no one's fool and she will play a long game to get even.
Beginning in the hot summer of 1976, Sadie’s story is told right up to the present day. The settings she occupies create a series of vivid pen pictures for the reader over the course of the book. First seen through the eyes of a primary-age child, the magic of Mr Chadha's garden, of Auld Sybil, the clootie tree, and life at 87 Little Denny Road are brought into sharp focus, quickly followed by Sadie's experiences of secondary school, her first date and of approaching adulthood. Sadie has a chance to change her life for the better, to move beyond her immediate environment, and she certainly does that, but not in the way one might hope or expect. There is a lot of living crammed into the 316 pages of this book.
"Sadie, Call The Polis" is a poignant tale of a life well lived, if not lived in a way that the reader might aspire to. It's voyeuristic and makes for uncomfortable reading at times. No one would have wished on Sadie the life that she has, but her approach to the world is so doggedly determined it is also oddly uplifting. Whilst most of what Sadie experiences would floor the average person, we see her pushing on through, as she evaluates and then re-evaluates the life she has and works out how to readjust and reset each time she must change direction. Sadie is a survivor not a quitter and, as I learned more about her, this reader found herself urging Sadie on to better things.