After watching the television adaptation of Dorothy Koomson's novel, I was keen to read the book - not least because I was aware, from an interview on the radio and reports back from a WI meeting where Dorothy Koomson
was the guest speaker, that she was extremely unhappy with the changes which the TV directors had made to her story.
I could understand why, because even the killer had been changed in the TV version,
and the emphasis on domestic violence, something the author feels very strongly about, was minimised. Some changes made sense, I thought, including Poppy's home background and the fact that the story began with both girls returning to Brighton, scene
of the tragic events of their youth.
This is the story of two young girls - called the Ice Cream Girls because of a photo of them licking ice creams, taken by their tormentor, the creepy history
teacher. He is a thoroughly nasty piece of work and perhaps the main fault of this book is that it is difficult to understand how Serena and Poppy ended up in the dock, accused of his muurder and how Poppy went to prison for it. But that is the
whole premise of the book which focuses on the determination of Poppy, newly released from prison, to make Serena confess her guilt and clear her (Poppy's) name.
Serena in the book is a far
more sympathetic character than her TV persona. Cut down to just three episodes, the TV adaptation also had to trim some of the "side" stories which went such a long way to develop the characters of Serena and Poppy. In particular, the relationship between
Poppy and Tina, the woman who helped her survive her long years in jail moved me as much as anything else in the book.
This is a story which is easy to read - but not necessarily easy reading.
The theme is one of childhood betrayed and youth lost. Worth a read - especially if you want to know who REALLY killed the history teacher!