The Amazingly Astonishing Story
Shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year 2021. Vote for it to win the WBOTY People’s Choice Award on the Wales Arts Review website.
By turns laugh out loud funny and deeply sad, The Amazingly Astonishing Story is Lucy Gannon’s childhood memoir, a frank and surprising look into a child’s tumultuous mind. A soldier’s daughter, Lucy lived in many places but after the death of her mother when Lucy was six, she was lodged with relatives in Lancashire, taken in only because the Army paid an allowance for her care. Escape beckoned when her father remarried but Lucy and her brothers soon found they had swapped one difficult situation for another. The boys fled into the armed forces leaving Lucy behind, a loathed gooseberry in her father’s second and passionate marriage.
Lucy’s escape was her convent school where, though abysmal at maths, she discovered a flair for writing and in the nuns she found warmth and understanding. Forced to leave home at sixteen, she joined the Women’s Royal Army Corps (‘the only organisation desperate enough to take me on’).
Vividly told, The Amazingly Astonishing Story is a classic story of a working-class girl growing up in the fifties and sixties, where dreams and reality seem irreconcilable. Her Catholic upbringing, a father torn between his daughter and his new wife, her irreverent imagination and stubborn determination to enjoy life , all mean that Lucy Gannon really does have an amazing story (including meeting the Beatles in her school grounds) as she finds her place in the world.
Lucy Gannon is the author of 8 plays and 18 TV dramas or series, including The Best of Men, Soldier Soldier, Peak Practice, Bramwell, and Dad. She won the Richard Burton Award for New Playwrights and has been writer in residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company.
“This is a fantastic book. Lucy Gannon offers her giant heart in this story of herself growing up and trying so hard to matter. It’s the saddest happiest funniest book I’ve read for ages, and it contains the most excellent swearing.” – Dawn French
“Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to perform in many of Lucy’s screenplays, which are always an actor’s dream: full of three-dimensional characters drawn with warmth and humour. Here, in her own real-life drama, she excels herself… she’ll have you in tears, barking in anger, and laughing out loud in the space of one beautifully crafted sentence.” – Kevin Whateley
Rewatch the full book launch on our Youtube channel: