Coming of age story: ‘Loving Jeanie’

Author Tom Bryson
Author Tom Bryson
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Young teenage Londonderry boy Dan Kerrigan lives with his family in a corrugated tin Nissen hut in a deserted US Naval base - Springtown Camp - in Northern Ireland.

Set in the late 1950s, Dan’s family along with others flee in a mass, illegal squat from desperate, crowded housing conditions to equally dire accommodation, namely Springtown camp.

Dan learns all about life in Springtown camp, including friendship and loyalty - but he gets into trouble at school and with the police. He is sent away by his parents for the long school summer holidays to separate him from “bad company”.

In Donegal, he agrees to a request from his Auntie Mary to ‘look after’ his Down’s Syndrome cousin, Jeanie. However, trouble still follows Dan.

This ‘coming of age’ novel shows Dan bonding with his country cousin Jeanie and the inherent danger of ‘making promises’ to adults - especially entering a ‘pact’.

An uplifting story about fighting adversity and developing character, maturing, and learning to give and receive love in a world where poverty and hardship, religion and politics and the spectre of past deeds are never far from the family’s door.

Author Tom Bryson hails from Londonderry and now lives in the historic village of Kinver in South Staffordshire where he writes crime and thriller novels (and follows Wolverhampton Wanderers DC and Derry City).

“Loving Jeanie” is a departure from his normal crime/thriller genre and while fictional is based on life in Londonderry’s Springtown Camp and later Creggan, where he lived his boyhood and young adult years. Loving Jeanie is Tom’s eighth novel. He has also written short stories and one-act plays.

Tom said: “I wrote this book to give my readers a good read but also to share insights into a period of recent history before it is forgotten.”