Book Review – Punching Judy by David James

David James has painted a vivid picture of 1950s south London following the lives of Jude, a young woman raised by care homes and Harry, otherwise known as Ape, an aging ex boxing coach.  Jude has a talent for scrapping, a talent which might save her from a life of crime and spells in and out of prison.  Ape can help if she will let him, and if he can survive bouts of drinking and depression.

The story follows their struggle through the underclass of their time.  They could both help each other to survive, and maybe even prosper, but may not realize it.

The story is raw.  You can smell the drab dirty streets, pubs, boarding houses and the blood and sweat of the ring.  It tells of a world of women’s championship boxing, of fixed fights and a chance for the big time.  Judy, ‘The Slugger’, Smith and Apeman Harry O’Riordan are sympathetic characters and we are compelled to know what will happen to them as they move through backstreets inhabited by colourful and grotesque characters.

Keith Jahans
Editor, Peatmore press (http://peatmore.com).

Punching Judy is published by Trafford Publishing:   http://www.trafford.com

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