Full of depth and pathos with a good dose of Scottish wit, There’s Only One Danny Garvey is a book that is sure to stay with me. And if you’re a football fan, you’re on a winner. Although I quite like football in small doses, I’m definitely not the game’s biggest fan – but I still really enjoyed this character driven novel full of heart.
With football at its core, a brilliant sense of setting in a fictional village in the west of Scotland is evoked; with the local football team the heart of the community – the focus of everyone’s hopes and dreams. In a droll and amusing way, Alex Ferguson also plays a small part in the story.
Danny Garvey, a former footballing prodigy once held the hopes and dreams of everyone in his home village of Barshaw in his grasp. However thirteen years on, with his football aspirations diminished and the dreams of the village shattered, Danny returns home to manage the struggling village junior team.
Danny also returns to a dying mother who he felt never loved him and his older brother Raymond in prison. He has spent the last thirteen years running away, but what exactly has he been running away from? The family dynamic that David F. Ross portrays in this novel is raw, compelling and heart wrenching.
I love Danny as a character – I found myself really emotionally investing in him. His vulnerability and compassion shines through the gritty narrative, especially through his relationship with Damo, his ten year old nephew. There’s Only One Danny Garvey is set in the mid 1990s when not as much was known about autism as it is now. The portrayal of Damo, with his autism undiagnosed is subtle, poignant and powerful.
I also love the humour used throughout the novel, especially when Danny is on a first date and accidently ends up at an Ann Summers party. Being from the west of Scotland myself, I also enjoyed the Scottish dialect used throughout the narrative. Personally I feel the use of Scottish dialect is fairly light in this novel compared to other Scottish fiction such as Trainspotting, so please don’t worry about it if you are not familiar with it. But it is important as it really helps to imagine the characters and the Barshaw setting. I also loved it as it made me feel nostalgic.
There’s Only One Danny Garvey is a powerful and emotive novel exploring themes of mental health, loss and family love. It dark and shocking in parts – there are elements that really broke my heart – but there is a gritty beauty full of heart at its core.
Thank you to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to be involved in the blog tour of There’s Only One Danny Garvey. Very recently published by Orenda Books on 21st January 2021, it is available now for you all to read.
I’ve also previously reviewed Welcome To The Heady Heights, also written by David F. Ross – so take a look at that also.
To follow the blog tour of There’s Only One Danny Garvey and read the reviews from my fellow book bloggers, please see below.
Happy reading everyone! 🙂