Since then I have had the intention of gradually reading my way through the back catalogue of his novels as I come across them. Unfortunately this looks like it is going to be slow going as this is only the third one I have managed to get hold of, sent to me recently by a fellow Bookcrosser. The other title which I have read is The Whole Day Through which I borrowed from my sister and never reviewed for some reason, although I do remember liking it.
Friendly Fire was published in 2005 and the protagonist is Sophie an orphan who has spent her life in a children's home. Her thirst for knowledge leads her to gain a place at an ancient boarding school. Sophie is well suited to survive the life style and work ethic environment. A well told tale of teenage angst as Sophie seen as somewhat of an oddity by the other pupils is befriended by other pupils also seen as social misfits, Lucas and Charlie. Over three years Sophie learns some tough lessons about mother love, class and families. I liked the way that Patrick Gale ended the novel for us with an epilogue, Sophie is now in her forties and we learn where life has taken her.
Patrick Gale has a knack of writing in a cool and compassionate manner about the ordinary events of life. This time perfectly covering the pain and joy of growing up.