Friday 20 December 2019

Another Planet by Tracey Thorn @tracey_thorn @canongatebooks @EmmaFinnigan #AnotherPlanet #BookReview

In a 1970s commuter town, Tracey Thorn's teenage life was forged from what failed to happen. Her diaries were packed with entries about not buying things, not going to the disco, the school coach not arriving.
Before she became an acclaimed musician and writer, Tracey Thorn was a typical teenager: bored and cynical, despairing of her aspirational parents. Her only comfort came from house parties, Meaningful Conversations and the female pop icons who hinted at a new kind of living.
Returning more than three decades later to Brookmans Park, scene of her childhood, Thorn takes us beyond the bus shelters and pub car parks, the utopian cul-de-sacs, the train to Potters Bar and the weekly discos, to the parents who wanted so much for their children, the children who wanted none of it. With endearing wit and great insight, Thorn reconsiders the Green Belt post-war dream so many artists have mocked, and yet so many artists have come from.

Another Planet by Tracey Thorn was published by Canongate Books in hardback in February this year. The paperback will be released in February 2020.

My thanks to Emma Finnigan, PR, who sent my copy for review.

I've been a fan of Tracey Thorn for many years, we are a similar age, I love her music, and I adore her writing. I was introduced to her at the Costa Book Awards earlier this year, and admit to coming over all fan-girl, and just shaking her hand and mumbling incoherently!
A few years ago I read and reviewed her book Naked At The Albert Hall, I really enjoyed it. I knew that Another Planet was going to be a treat, and it is, a huge huge treat. I loved it.

I step off the train
I'm walking down your street again
And past your door, but you don't live there anymore
It's years since you've been there
Now you've disappeared somewhere, like outer space
You've found some better place

These are the lyrics from the opening verse of 'Missing' by Everything But The Girl; probably Tracey Thorn's biggest and most recognisable hit single. 
I wonder if Another Planet was inspired by this song?  I wonder if she was thinking about writing this memoir before she wrote the song? It doesn't matter though, because both the song, and the book are incredible.

Tracey Thorn grew up in the 1970s in rural Hertfordshire; a place called Brookman's Park; a place where nothing happened, every single day. I too grew up in a quiet village, albeit in Nottinghamshire, but nothing happened there either. Like Tracey, the highlight of our week was to take the bus to the nearby town and see what we could buy. 
We were often disappointed. As was Tracey.

Another Planet is so familiar to anyone who spent their formative years in a village that offered little excitement. As I was reading, I nodded in agreement at every page. As she talks about the television shows and recounts entries from her diary, it really could have been me, and my friends.

As Tracey Thorn re-visits the streets of her youth, she includes snatches from the diary that she religiously filled in during those years. These entries are both funny and poignant, and tell of a girl who wanted so much more, but wasn't quite sure what it was that would fulfil her. 

There is such a lot of details of things that didn't happen for Tracey. The things she didn't buy, the nights out that she didn't attend; fairly typical of a teenage girl; we all wanted so much more. 

This is a warm and witty, and very honest account of teenage angst and boredom. I loved every word, she's an incredibly talented author, but we knew that didn't we? Those song lyrics!
Touching, thoughtful and so familiar. Made me love her even more

The youngest of three children,Thorn was born in Brookmans ParkHatfield, Hertfordshire. She grew up in Hatfield and studied English at the University of Hull, where she graduated in 1984 with First Class Honours. She later took an MA degree at Birkbeck College, University of London.
After 27 years as a couple, Thorn and the other half of Everything But The Girl, Ben Watt, married in 2008 at Chelsea Register Office. They live in Hampstead, North London. The couple have twin girls, Jean and Alfie, born in 1998, and a son, Blake, born in 2001.

Twitter : @tracey_thorn
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