What I Learned - Sonny and Me by Ross Sayers
I was lucky enough to go to the launch event for this brilliant book by ex-local boy Ross Sayers, and what a lovely and humble bloke he is - sitting in a state of disbelief surrounded by all the people coming out and buying copies of his book - he literally has no idea just how fantastic he is...and I for one can't wait for his future offerings (a time-travelling tale set in the Glasgow Underground - I'm well and truly intrigued already.)
What I Learned:
I think this is a uniquely Scottish smell (due not in small part to the months and months and months and months of rain!). The only thing this description is missing is the noise of the rain dripping from the leaves. There's been lots written about the healing power of forests and the benefits of just a walk in the woods. I will definitely be reading up some more, and as I live two minutes away from one of the countries most beautiful bluebells woods its a phenomenon I am lucky enough to experience on a regular basis.
This made me laugh purely because I say something similar every single time we go into the local garage...and don't even get me started on a Fudge bar!!!
Another brilliantly simple, hilarious and dead on observation about the humble cheesestring! Floppy and sweaty in my experience! I wonder is Ross has ever considered stand-up. Personally I love the comedians who point out the insane everyday!
This state of being is referred to in our house as the "Mary Poppins" quality. It doesn't matter what is going on around you always try to retain that unflappable quality and belief that it will all be okay and work out for the best. I strive for this every single day. Getting fussed, in the end, just add to the stress after all.
Every child needs a teacher like this in their life, and I would like to think that this is what every teacher should strive to be. Surely this is the highest compliment anyone could ever pay a teacher, and actually has a much more lasting impact on a kid than an exam result at the end of a course.
I love the often thinly veiled (and sometimes openly hostile) distain that some teachers have for other subjects. I'm sure this has happened since the start of time. And will continue to happen long into the future. I had experience of a depute head who, despite being a maths teacher, thought nothing was more important than the schools sporting achievements. Every single speech he made and assembly he took always came around to the sports teams and as a distinctly un-sporty individual this absolutely "done my heid in". If you've never seen the Disney Channel original movie "Lemonade Mouth" watch it. It's a brilliant example of this (and the soundtrack is amazing!)
Is this just a Scottish thing or a British thing? Either way it's so true. I am nearly 40 and I still call the parents of the people I've known for a long time Mr or Mrs such and such. I can't break the cycle. It feels wrong and disrespectful. Like calling one of your old teachers by their first name.
My equivalent of this was coming home from school in that uniquely Scottish cold and wet wall of water to slippers on the radiator and hot toast. Or a hot water bottle in bed after being away camping at the weekends. Small things that have a lasting impact.
I recently came across someone who did this and I thought it was one of the weirdest things I had ever heard - and then I read this - and it is an actual thing! I had no idea! I've been doing it wrong all these years!
This is one of those lines that made me have to stop and put the book down because I was laughing so hard, and I then kept laughing very time I thought about it afterwards. I have to say the Raploch area of Stirling has undergone an incredible transformation of late and has really changed, but those of us of a certain age will remember the area fondly in terms such as this!
I read this genius line and stored it away in my embarrassing parental repertoire of one-liners until the perfect opportunity presented itself and then whipped it out in spectacular fashion. Needless to say my 16-year-old daughter was distinctly unamused. I, however, thought I was the most hilarious parent on the planet!
I need to ask if the author went to the local pantomimes at Christmas. I have fond memories of a friend of mine dressed in full-on pantomime dame garb using a line very similar to this, and it was as hilarious then as it is now!
I'm pretty sure the whole of Scotland would just grind to a halt if our beloved Irn-Bru was taken away!
Just love this. I know this kid! In fact I'm pretty sure my kid is this kid!
I'm from Alva...this for us was the kids from Dollar and Muckhart. I believe the new policy is that if any of the school buses can't get through they close they entire school. Wish that's the way it worked in my day!
" a winner's enclosure for bams"....does anything sum up the Scottish schooling experience better than this brilliant passage?
This melts my heart every time I read it. Don't ever settle for anything less than this in life. This perfectly sums up the the way it should be.
Aye - try asking for a Tennent's in the south of England - nae idea whit yer oan aboot. Or a Fish Supper for that matter!
I didn't know this was a thing either...is this just a Stirling thing? Or even just a Bannockburn one? Further investigation required!
Facing our fears makes us the incredible and amazing people we are today. And I guarantee that most of your best stories in life come from facing a fear of some sort. Always strive to be brave.
Another thing unique to the Scottish summer is the fact that if you walk through any town you will see people dressed in summer dresses, shorts and sandals, and on the same street you will see someone in their winter boots and a big coat because you never can quite trust that unfamiliar shiny bright ball of fire in the sky. Trust me - look for this and you will notice. I was people watching with my mum in Stirling the other week when we had a wee giggle about it.
My Goodreads Review:
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book is not to be consumed in public spaces - I guarantee you will get all sorts of funny looks for proper, snorting, unattractive, belly laughing out loud. This is an utterly brilliant novel that all Scottish English teachers should be using as a tool for introducing our kids to real, relevant, relatable and exceptionally funny Scottish dialect. I loved every last page of this book, often having to lay it down because I literally couldn't read on because I was laughing so hard, and along with all that brilliant humour are some incredibly written teenage boys who's likeability levels are off the charts. Simply brilliant. I am excited to see what this amazing young author does next!
I could quote the funny parts of this books all day long but I've just chosen a few of my favourites here . My plan now is to take my copy out into the world and photograph it at all the places mentioned in it's pages...it will be a fun day out so watch out for a travel post soon.
Find Ross Sayers online:
My copy of Sonny and Me came from the Gob Stopper imprint of the brilliant Cranachan Publishing. Check them out online at:
Thank you so much for checking out this review - if you enjoyed it please have a look at my complete list of What I Learned reviews.