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Scratch [Kindle Edition]

Danny Gillan
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99

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Book Description

An unexpected reminder of his past prompts Jim Cooper, a 33 year-old Glaswegian call centre worker, to make a big decision. He’s going back to adulthood ground-zero - no job, no debt, no, er, home, and starting again. Maybe this time he can do it right and get the girl. The fact that the girl is already married and living in another country and her Bruce Lee obsessed dad apparently wants to turn Jim into his latest pet are only two of the obstacles he faces.
Given Jim's forward planning skills don’t extend beyond praying and having panic attacks, it isn’t surprising that he soon finds himself living with his parents and working for minimum wage, in the same pub he worked in when he was 18. What is unexpected is Paula Fraser walking through the pub’s door for the first time in 12 years.
What’s even more surprising is that Paula admits she still loves Jim. But yes, she’s married, and no, she won't cheat on her husband. She'll tell him the marriage is over. Soon. When the time is right. As soon as her husband's sick grandfather gets better - or fatally worse.

And so, Jim and Paula embark on the tricky business of not having an affair, and not telling anyone they know that they’re not having an affair. As Jim reflects, ‘If not being physically intimate with her in any way and denying to everyone we knew that anything was going on between us was the best way to prove I loved her, then that’s what I would do.’

Scratch is an un-sanitised, emotionally honest and hilariously candid story about what it is to grow up as opposed to simply change age, as told by a man who doesn’t know what any of those words mean.

Word Count: 98,000

By the same author:

Will You Love Me Tomorrow - some musicians wait a lifetime for a record deal. Bryan Rivers waited three days longer.
Will You Love Me Tomorrow is a comedy about death, depression, grief, loss, friendship, family, haircuts and the music business.

A Selection of Meats and Cheeses - Twelve short stories from Danny Gillan. Some sad, some funny, some serious some silly, some poignant and some pointless.

Product Details

  • File Size: 575 KB
  • Print Length: 293 pages
  • Publisher: Jakobian Books; 1 edition (March 10, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004RQ8WEO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #368,504 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Brilliant April 20, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Scratch has a simple premise. Guy takes a retro career step, meets the love of his life again and if everything goes according to plan he'll live happily ever after. If you want to know whether it goes to plan, you'll have to read the book.

And while you're reading, you'll meet some wonderful characters: is he-or-is-he-not-gay, Terry. The Bruce Lee devotee psychologist, Simon ... or is it Joe? Abe and his foul-mouthed kitchen porter, Jed. Bone idle Kate, a perfect example of the Peter Principle. And you'll meet the gorgeous, intelligent and determined Paula, the object of Jim's love, the woman who left him and has now come back.

Author Danny Gillan takes this marvellous cast and weaves them into the kinds of simple situation we all come across every day. But the result is not ordinary. It's a humorous journey, commenting on life, love, the modern world, and the hopes, desires, aims and ambitions of thoroughly ordinary yet extraordinary people.

A wonderful read, I couldn't help a stab of envy. Why can't I write like this?
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fighting by not fighting April 11, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I've read a lot of this genre and can confidently state this one is far, far better than anything else in its field.

With Scratch, Danny Gillan achieves what David Nicholls cannot and what Tony Parsons can only dream about.
This book reminds me of Jim Keeble or John O'Farrell - but it really is much better.
Scratch is honest-funny, not synthetic-funny.

This is funny, sharply observed comedy with a wry contemporary and Glaswegian slant on age-old problems.
It appeals to men and women alike (I tested it) in its disarming tone, disguising an intelligence and philosophical angle with humour, hilarious set pieces and a refusal to fit conventional Hollywood formulae.
Gillan's crucial advantage is that he writes likeable key characters; people we understand, recognise and could be persuaded to join for a pint. Which is handy, as much of the action is set in the pub.

But it's more than one man's painful journey through lager to maturity; it examines how people choose to live their lives, how external facades hide rifts, patterns of behaviour and deeply held assumptions.
His cast of characters; Terry the Not-In-The Closet mate, Kate the Beautiful-But-Crap co-worker, Joe/Simon the astute psychologist with a Bruce Lee obsession, Sammy the Out-of-the-Closet boss, all weave a wonderfully rich background against which our Jim fights his battles.
There's a love story at the heart of this, but it isn't the one you think.
The bits that made me cry and nod came from the most unexpected quarter, and meant all the more for it. Near the end, Jim and Martin's conversation, so perfectly pitched, lifted this book to another level. Gillan's writing - quite literally - makes us grow up.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING! Brilliant! Amazing! August 12, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful story with actual real to life characters. Jim takes a leap of faith and starts his life over from scratch. You identify with him, and cheer him on. You laugh at him and with him; you become invested in his future. You actually fall in love with Jim yourself. His story is heart warming and heart wrenching. This story is well worth every minute you spend reading it. I highly recommend this book, it is worth every penny, no matter the cost!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have just spent a week in a pub April 18, 2011
By Suzy
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The pub in question is 'The Basement', situated in Glasgow and is populated by some wonderful, funny, lovable characters. I felt at home there, I wanted Jim to pull me a pint and I wanted to have a girly chat with Paula Fraser. This is the magic of Danny Gillan's writing; he pulls you into a fictional world you don't want to leave. You laugh and cry with the hero, you cheer him on and truly feel for him when the chips are down. And sometimes you want to kick his butt.

This is the very best of British writing, the same quality as 'The Likely Lads', 'The Full Monty' and 'Men Behaving Badly'. Not that Danny Gillan has borrowed any of this, he has his own very unique style. But this book has that 'real' feel and the people in it become your friends.When I finished the book, I really missed the world I had been in while reading the story. It was a bit like coming out of the cinema after a really good movie, you're still thinking about the story while slowly getting back to the real world.

One of the best books I have read for a very long time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Starting over - a little late September 28, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Hating his job and in debt up to his neck, Jim decides to start from scratch. He quits his job, sells his flat and moves back in with his parents. So begins Jim's quest to have another go at 'getting it right.'

I so enjoyed this story. It was entertaining and funny, thought-provoking and poignant. In this current economy, I can easily see this story unfolding in the real world.

The characters are so well fleshed, each with his/her own strengths and weaknesses, that I am left feeling as if I could go to the corner pub and have a drink with any one of them as we have a good chat. I love Jim. He really is a wanker (of course, I'm using the Joe/Simon definition!). I am terribly disappointed in Paula, but then I write romance novels for a living and wanted, well, I can't tell you what I wanted without giving away some good bits. I enjoyed watching Terry grow and mature...but only so far (I'm shaking my head and grinning, you'll see why when you meet him). I love Abe and Jeb...their working relationship is something we all wish we had in our work-a-day lives (I'm laughing even as I type this). I even loved Kate, and especially enjoyed learning the unexpected 'motive' behind her laziness.

Buy this book. But don't just read it. Savor it. You won't be sorry.

Highly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Eh
Thought this book was kind of long winded, and you kind of knew pretty early on how it was going to end. Would I read it again? No. Am I glad I only paid .99 for it? Read more
Published 3 months ago by Pamalla
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
A quirky and entertaining story. It does hit home during certain parts of the book. It does start off a little slow, but eventually gets to the meat and potatoes of the story. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Eh
This book is alright if you can filter through the British talk or whatever it is. Even at that, it's still really slow moving, and it took me forever to get interested. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Scratch - loved it
Having enjoyed reading Danny Gillan's first book, ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow’, I decided to move onto his second novel, ‘Scratch’. Read more
Published 6 months ago by L Lanir
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars
Protagonist learns the hard way that the good old days maybe weren't so good after all. Smart and fun, with a satisfying resolution.
Published 8 months ago by ShyReviewer
5.0 out of 5 stars Scratch
Well written and very funny. A great "not so" love story , and wonderful life story. I would recommend this book.
Published 12 months ago by debra M. paciello
5.0 out of 5 stars Chick lit with testicles
1. Short review: :-D (Amazon rating: 5 out of 5 stars -- I love it.) Chick lit with testicles.

2. Long review:

2.1. What I liked: The characters. Read more
Published 14 months ago by h lynn keith
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, unusual love story (kind of)
This book was SO good. I was caught all the way through. The relationship between Jim and Paula is so realistic, I felt like I had met them before, especially Jim. Read more
Published 16 months ago by bridgetn
3.0 out of 5 stars Conflicted!
I'm conflicted on this story, simply because I struggled with its vulgarity. Yes, the characters are Brits and commonly use some words and idioms that are considered taboo here,... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Susan Aylworth
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
I loved this book! It's real, it's funny and it's heartbreaking. What else could you ask for? Lots of F-bombs, but don't let that keep you from reading it.
Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
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More About the Author

As a youth, my main ambition was to find success as a musician. I've been playing the guitar since I was six, and, in my teens and twenties, played in and wrote songs for a number of bands in and around Glasgow, with varying degrees of failure.
As I grew older, and every inch lost to my hairline resulted in two being added to my waistline, I came to realise that rock godhood was no longer a viable option, but it has always stuck with me how much I enjoyed the writing process.

At the same time as seeking out failure and misery in the music world I have had a couple of other careers. Upon dropping out of university for a record third time (my mother is so proud), I got my first pub job. For five or six years I spent pretty much all of my waking hours pulling, and drinking, pints in several of Glasgow's finest licensed premises. Pub work can be a great life, as long as you don't mind the terrible wages and complete lack of career prospects, but eventually I found myself inexplicably hankering after something a bit more fulfilling.
Through a casual acquaintance I was introduced to the world of social care, more specifically that of supporting adults with learning disabilities and/or mental health problems. I spent the next eight years working in this field, starting as a voluntary music tutor and rising to the dizzying heights of senior management with a large voluntary organisation operating in the West of Scotland. Eventually, however,

constant battles with social workers about funding, and support staff about the importance of turning up for a shift, started to get to me.

Eight years ago I handed in my notice and went back to pulling pints, at least initially. I'd managed, through blatant nepotism (my sister was the manager), to get a job in a posh Glasgow hotel. For the first year or so I happily reacquainted myself with Glasgow's drinking culture, but it didn't take them long to notice I was relatively good with unimportant things like words and numbers, and I found myself charged with thankless tasks such as accounts, payrolls and answering complaint letters. This was not fun, believe me.

I soon tired of all that and, in 2006, returned to social care. Nepotism played its part once again, when a former manager called me with a job offer. The hours are awful and the money's rubbish, but apart from that I'm quite enjoying it.

Anyway, back to writing. I had a couple of false starts. I wrote some brilliant opening chapters, establishing characters, locations and relationships. The problem was that I could never get past that first chapter. It soon became apparent that plot, of all things, was something of a prerequisite.
This threw me for a while.
And then I had an idea. What would happen if a failed musician (okay yes, me) became depressed (don't ask) and killed himself, then got famous? That could be a plot.

From that initial idea I sketched out a plot revolving around the friends and family of the musician in question, and found I was able to explore a diverse set of themes including social care, music, familial relationships, friendship and mental health issues, hopefully with a decent dose of humour and sensitivity.
Will You Love Me Tomorrow is the end result of many subsequent months of toil and frustration, and was selected as the Scottish Region winner of the Undiscovered Authors 2007 competition. The book was published by Discovered Authors in October 2008.

Since completing the book I have written a number of short stories, something I hadn't attempted before. I've found this an excellent way to practice and polish my writing, as well as an opportunity to experiment with style, tense, point of view etc. One of my short stories is due for publication in a future edition of Chapman magazine and another has recently been accepted by Bridge House Publishing. Another appears in an anthology produced by the Arts Council funded writers' site, and a fourth is due to appear later this year in Short Fuses, and anthology produced and published by the Bookshed, an online writing and publishing community.

I have now completed my second novel, Scratch. It tells the tale of Jim Cooper, a Glaswegian thirty-something office worker who decides to leave his job, sell his flat, pay off his debts and start his adult life again from scratch.
Maybe this time he can do it properly and get (or, rather, keep) the girl.
The fact that the girl is happily married and lives in another country, and her Bruce Lee obsessed father seems to want to be Jim's new best friend are only the beginning of his troubles.
Scratch is an un-sanitised, emotionally honest and hilariously candid story about what it is to grow up as opposed to simply change age, as told by a man who doesn't know what any of those words mean.

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