Motherwell: A Girlhood

Hardback Published on: 23/01/2020
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Bookseller Reviews

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Candid biography.
This was not only a biography but a snap shot of life in Scotland.. beautifully written account of Deborah’s relationship with her mother. Thoroughly enjoy... READ MORE
Powerful and hopeful
I was initially intrigued by this book because of its location as my own parents grew up around the corner. Having read it now, it disappointments me that ... READ MORE
The Power of Memoir
‘Motherwell’ is a true example of memoir can do at it’s best. Beautiful infused with the author’s personality in every word, you truly feel her come to lif... READ MORE
Nicole, Haywards Heath


A BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week Just shy of 18, Deborah Orr left Motherwell - the town she both loved and hated - to go to university. It was a decision her mother railed against from the moment the idea was raised. Win had very little agency in the world, every choice was determined by the men in her life. And strangely, she wanted the same for her daughter. Attending university wasn't for the likes of the Orr family. Worse still, it would mean leaving Win behind - and Win wanted Deborah with her at all times, rather like she wanted her arm with her at all times. But while she managed to escape, Deborah's severing from her family was only superficial. She continued to travel back to Motherwell, fantasizing about the day that Win might come to accept her as good enough. Though of course it was never meant to be. Motherwell is a sharp, unflinching and often humorous memoir about the long shadow that can be cast when the core relationship in your life compromises every effort you make to become an individual. It is about what we inherit - the good and the very bad - and how a deeper understanding of the place and people you have come from can bring you towards redemption.

  • Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
  • ISBN: 9781474611459
  • Number of pages: 304
  • Weight: 410g
  • Dimensions: 220 x 142 x 30 mm

Customer Reviews

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A love letter to a home town
This was one of my most anticipated new books of 2020 so I feel very fortunate to have received an advance proof copy from Orion Books. I knew that I woul... READ MORE
Angela Silverburn
Unflinchingly honest
Motherwell is a fearless and thoroughly candid memoir about family relationships, the mother-daughter bond, class, and political neglect, but ultimately, t... READ MORE
A Beautiful, Witty, Unique & Affecting Memoir
When memoirs are great, they are breath-taking. And what makes a good memoir? For me, honesty, revelation and one that can capture how the individual life ... READ MORE
victoria sadler
Gritty, gripping, funny, poignant, alarming, woundingly honest...
This is one of those books that needs to be read by anyone who wants to know what life in Britain (Scotland in particular) was like for women born in the 1... READ MORE
Peter Martin
A Life In A Memoir.
This is a truly honest memoir of Deborah Orr's life growing up in Motherwell, Scotland, in a housing estate. She describes living in a working class commun... READ MORE
Milton of Campsie  Annie
A brave book
It felt very sad reading this book, having been a long time fan of Deborah Orr's newspaper columns. There are so many thing that resonated with me in her r... READ MORE
Kerstin Morrison
As a child of parents who found child-rearing a challenge, a lot of Deborah's story, especially her mother's behaviour and outlook resonated with me. And i... READ MORE
Judith Anderson
A pointless book written by a self-indulgent woman.