‘Hurry Up and Wait’ by Isabel Ashdown

Sometimes when I read a book, something about a description of a person or a place will set me off thinking about something not really connected to the book in hand, and it can take a little while for the author to reel me back in.  I don’t think it’s a negative reaction; it usually happens because of the accuracy of description and the picture painted in my mind’s eye.

This happened to me recently when I was reading Isabel Ashdown’s Hurry Up and Wait.  I enjoyed the novel, which is the story of a girl’s coming of age in the 1980s, of the intricacies of evolving friendships, first love and Saturday jobs.  Many of the reviews I’ve read have commented on the accuracy of the description of being a teenager in that era, of the music and the magazines and make-up;  regrettably I can’t comment on that, as I was a teenager in the 70s, but the emotional truth of the relationships could apply equally to my era as to the decade after.

There is the pain of first love, and the awfulness of the girl who steals your boyfriend, and the growing awareness that the hip and trendy one might not be as good as he looks; and the self consciousness of knowing that your home life is different to everyone else’s.

But in spite of my enjoyment of the main narrative, of the protagonist Sarah’s memories of her adolescence as she returns to her old school for a reunion,  it was one of the peripheral adult characters that set me off thinking on a tangent of my own.  It’s Jason, the father of Sarah’s friend Kate: in just a few sentences, the description of his insistence that the girls call him by his first name, his way of dressing, his familiarity with pop music, and I’d pegged him.  Add to that the irritated tiredness of his wife, Kate’s mother, and I’d already painted in a whole scenario.

Jason is a man who fancies himself as perpetually young; one who has failed to realise that it’s better to mature, and as a result may prove himself to be toxic to all those around him, because there’s only so far it’s possible for them to tolerate the irresponsible Peter Pan.  He could much more likely to be Dorian Gray.

I don’t want to spoil it, so I won’t let on whether my prejudices were justified or not; but it is a mark of how much my sympathies were with Sarah that I worried for her when she went round to Kate’s house for the evening.

I’d be fascinated to know if anyone else had the same reaction to this engaging novel.

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  1. I’m now very keen to get my hands on this! Do you have a kindle?

    • Yes, and I read Hurry Up and Wait on my Kindle, so I know it’s available. Let me know what you think of it!

      • I don’t have a Kindle. Yet. My birthday is in two weeks time, so I’m dropping hints left right and centre.

      • I received mine for Christmas last year and I enjoy using it – the immediacy of being able to get any book I want at the touch of a button is very appealing and something I had to learn to control! Having said that, after I’d read three books in a row on it, I really wanted to have a physical book in my hand, so bought a couple which I’m enjoying at the moment – I like to be able to flick the pages, and that’s not easy on the Kindle. I hope your hintees are listening – I’ll be interested to hear what you think of it.

  2. I completely agree Rowena – and I’m speaking from personal experience….


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