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The Sun Hasn't Fallen from the Sky: A Memoir

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Seven-year-old Ailsa Dunn's Ma is prettier than all the other mothers, her Da is the most handsome man in the world. They're made for each other. But the grown-up world is more complicated than that, and when alcohol intrudes, violence becomes the norm and unpredictability reigns - and the ground shifts beneath Ailsa's small feet. Seven-year-old Ailsa Dunn's Ma is prettier than all the other mothers, her Da is the most handsome man in the world. They're made for each other. But the grown-up world is more complicated than that, and when alcohol intrudes, violence becomes the norm and unpredictability reigns - and the ground shifts beneath Ailsa's small feet.


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Seven-year-old Ailsa Dunn's Ma is prettier than all the other mothers, her Da is the most handsome man in the world. They're made for each other. But the grown-up world is more complicated than that, and when alcohol intrudes, violence becomes the norm and unpredictability reigns - and the ground shifts beneath Ailsa's small feet. Seven-year-old Ailsa Dunn's Ma is prettier than all the other mothers, her Da is the most handsome man in the world. They're made for each other. But the grown-up world is more complicated than that, and when alcohol intrudes, violence becomes the norm and unpredictability reigns - and the ground shifts beneath Ailsa's small feet.

30 review for The Sun Hasn't Fallen from the Sky: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the Week: Seven year old Ailsa Dunn's Ma is prettier than all the other mothers and her Da is the most handsome man in the world but when alcohol intrudes unpredictability reigns and when the man with the briefcase comes to call she senses the family is in trouble. 2/5: Seven year old Ailsa Dunn adores her handsome Da and her pretty Ma but when alcohol intrudes chaos reigns and she and her sister are removed from home and taken to an orphanage. This is the Glasgow of the From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the Week: Seven year old Ailsa Dunn's Ma is prettier than all the other mothers and her Da is the most handsome man in the world but when alcohol intrudes unpredictability reigns and when the man with the briefcase comes to call she senses the family is in trouble. 2/5: Seven year old Ailsa Dunn adores her handsome Da and her pretty Ma but when alcohol intrudes chaos reigns and she and her sister are removed from home and taken to an orphanage. This is the Glasgow of the late 1960s and the strict regime is fiercely resented by the two feisty girls. Confused and unhappy Ailsa loses her bearings until she meets an inspirational teacher and timidly asks if he will teach her to play the piano. 3/5: Removed from the care of loving but alcoholic parents and placed in a strict Glasgow orphanage, Ailsa Dunn is struggling to cope. Then she meets Mr Shaugnessy and inspired by his piano playing she asks for lessons. Encouraged by his praise, she discovers a talent she never dreamt she had. 4/5: Ailsa's older sister has been sent away from the orphanage for being too disruptive and now Ailsa has to brave the playground alone. But after winning a piano competition in Glasgow her piano teacher has entered her for the Saturday school at the Glasgow Academy of Music and she throws all her energies into her new found passion. 5/5: Overwhelmed by both the atmosphere and the other confident students at the Academy of Music, Ailsa has not been attending her Saturday classes. But when the people at the orphanage find out and tell her beloved music teacher she is desperate to make amends. Maureen Beattie reads Alison Gangel's vibrant memoir set in the Glasgow of the late 1960s. Producer: Jane Marshall A Jane Marshall production for BBC Radio 4. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00xpjwr

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Furniss

    I listened to this on Radio 4 over five days. Set in 1970's Glasgow Ailsa is taken from her alcoholic parents and put in to an orphanage. But a teacher notices her musical talent and inspires and encourages her to aim higher than she could ever have imagined. The narrator choice was just perfect reading in the heavy accent and using dialect even if the language was rather colourful in parts some of it was used humorously. Although this book could be labeled a misery memoir it's more than that. It' I listened to this on Radio 4 over five days. Set in 1970's Glasgow Ailsa is taken from her alcoholic parents and put in to an orphanage. But a teacher notices her musical talent and inspires and encourages her to aim higher than she could ever have imagined. The narrator choice was just perfect reading in the heavy accent and using dialect even if the language was rather colourful in parts some of it was used humorously. Although this book could be labeled a misery memoir it's more than that. It's an honest, raw, gut wrenching but yet inspiring autobiography. The ending was spot on too and just sums up what a difference to a young life a good teacher can make and how they can shape a persons destiny.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Joe Constantine

    This is not a book I would naturally gravitate towards; in fact I've never read a book in this genre before. Then one day I was lucky enough to hear this narrated by Maureen Beattie on BBC Radio 4's 'Book of The Week'. It was heavily abridged, but expertly so; none of the emotion, the tragedy, or triumph were lost. Following this excellent introduction I purchased the unabridged book and enjoyed it as much as I expected. It's an emotional ride, punctuated by anecdotes that seem harrowing to the a This is not a book I would naturally gravitate towards; in fact I've never read a book in this genre before. Then one day I was lucky enough to hear this narrated by Maureen Beattie on BBC Radio 4's 'Book of The Week'. It was heavily abridged, but expertly so; none of the emotion, the tragedy, or triumph were lost. Following this excellent introduction I purchased the unabridged book and enjoyed it as much as I expected. It's an emotional ride, punctuated by anecdotes that seem harrowing to the adults reading about them but run of the mill to the child experiencing them. That's the real tragedy here: that such things can appear normal to children. But it's also the book's triumph too: that children can and do thrive against all odds.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bettie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. book of the week Seven year old Ailsa Dunn's Ma is prettier than all the other mothers and her Da is the most handsome man in the world but when alcohol intrudes unpredictability reigns and when the man with the briefcase comes to call she senses the family is in trouble. Maureen Beattie reads Alison Gangel's vibrant memoir set in the Glasgow of the late 1960s. Producer: Jane Marshall A Jane Marshall production for BBC Radio 4. book of the week Seven year old Ailsa Dunn's Ma is prettier than all the other mothers and her Da is the most handsome man in the world but when alcohol intrudes unpredictability reigns and when the man with the briefcase comes to call she senses the family is in trouble. Maureen Beattie reads Alison Gangel's vibrant memoir set in the Glasgow of the late 1960s. Producer: Jane Marshall A Jane Marshall production for BBC Radio 4.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Priya

    The sun hasn’t fallen from the sky is a story of a 7 year old girl, who was separated from his loving but alcoholic parents , along with her sister and was moved to an orphanage. The story is of her resilience of surviving the hardships and the passion she found in music through piano recitals. The story is about that one teacher who became a mentor and pivot in her life for a better future. It is a short simple story but hits multiple points There is always another opportunity in life. Till the s The sun hasn’t fallen from the sky is a story of a 7 year old girl, who was separated from his loving but alcoholic parents , along with her sister and was moved to an orphanage. The story is of her resilience of surviving the hardships and the passion she found in music through piano recitals. The story is about that one teacher who became a mentor and pivot in her life for a better future. It is a short simple story but hits multiple points There is always another opportunity in life. Till the sun hasn’t fallen from the sky, there is still hope for something better! Sometimes we have a huge influence over somebody's else's life. We all have these roles in life but sometimes shy away from taking the full responsibility to bring about change, as a teacher, a mentor, a manager, a friend, a colleague. The most important point for me though came through a resonance with similar stories I have read recently, Educated, Before We were yours , Queens Gambit , The Great Alone and now this. Children who were born into loving families but suffered due to either eccentricity, economics, mental instability, substance abuse or mere negligence of their parents. When a person or a couple decides to adopt and give an orphaned child a safe and healthy home, there are a lot of requirements to be fulfilled. They are to prove themselves capable of being able to nurture these children and all for the right reasons . But there is no perquisites for people to bring these bundles of joy into the world. Just food for thought !

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dora The explorer

    I would really like to rate this 4.5 which for me, is very good indeed! Alison Gangel’s memoir tells the story of her and her sister’s removal from their home to an orphanage. She doesn’t talk too much about how this makes her feel like some similar books do but she does miss her Mum and Dad and waits by the bus stop for them to visit, which they seldom do. I had to really concentrate at the outset to understand the broad Glaswegian language but I managed it. The language is colourful to say the I would really like to rate this 4.5 which for me, is very good indeed! Alison Gangel’s memoir tells the story of her and her sister’s removal from their home to an orphanage. She doesn’t talk too much about how this makes her feel like some similar books do but she does miss her Mum and Dad and waits by the bus stop for them to visit, which they seldom do. I had to really concentrate at the outset to understand the broad Glaswegian language but I managed it. The language is colourful to say the least but it didn’t bother me to be honest because I know for some families it’s just normal. It was a story about an inspiring teacher who saw a glimmer of talent in a small girl and gently encouraged her to play the piano. I am not in the least musical but I actually enjoyed her explanation of how the music made her feel. I actually shed a few tears when I read the Afterword. That’s all I’m saying but I would recommend this book to others.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Fatima

    Such an amazing book to read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Di Castle

    I absolutely loved this book. I can understand though why some reviewers were sceptical about the bad language used in the book especially as it could be read by younger readers. Alison Gangel deals with a difficult subject in a sensitive way and brings to life her childhood recollections of being taken into care. She and her sister are removed from their parents and taken to live in a children's home where life is not always easy. However, an inspirational teacher spots her musical talent and e I absolutely loved this book. I can understand though why some reviewers were sceptical about the bad language used in the book especially as it could be read by younger readers. Alison Gangel deals with a difficult subject in a sensitive way and brings to life her childhood recollections of being taken into care. She and her sister are removed from their parents and taken to live in a children's home where life is not always easy. However, an inspirational teacher spots her musical talent and encourages her to pursue prizes and later a place at the Saturday Royal Academy of Music in Glasgow. This is to change her life and despite having her piano practice thwarted by other children in the home she is to make a career out of her music. This is not a misery memoir but one built on hope and the bonds that tie two sisters together.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    I thoroughly "enjoyed" reading this book, although I'm not sure that's the best word to use concerning this deeply personal, gut-wrenching and extremely honest autobiography. The author wrote from a child's vantage point and allowed the reader to judge, what it felt like to be raised by alcoholic parents who simply could not get their act together and parent their two daughters. It was a look inside of a certain class and culture of 1970's Glasgow and, at times, really painful to read. With that I thoroughly "enjoyed" reading this book, although I'm not sure that's the best word to use concerning this deeply personal, gut-wrenching and extremely honest autobiography. The author wrote from a child's vantage point and allowed the reader to judge, what it felt like to be raised by alcoholic parents who simply could not get their act together and parent their two daughters. It was a look inside of a certain class and culture of 1970's Glasgow and, at times, really painful to read. With that said, I read it in one sitting—beginning in the morning and finishing that same evening. After having spent several years living (off and on) in Scotland, I had no problems with the Scots-English dialogue but I'm not certain it would be the easiest read for those with no previous experience with the Glaswegian dialect, specifically.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sally Seymore

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and couldn't put it down. Towards the end I cried...for a young girl who had so much talent and was given a chance, yet had such a drawback in life. For a type of teacher who is a rarity these days...who really reaches out and brings out the best in his pupils. If it wasn't for Mr Shaunessy where would Ailsa have ended up? It also made me realize what a huge responsibility parents have, as it doesn't matter how ill you treat your child, they will always love you. A I thoroughly enjoyed this book and couldn't put it down. Towards the end I cried...for a young girl who had so much talent and was given a chance, yet had such a drawback in life. For a type of teacher who is a rarity these days...who really reaches out and brings out the best in his pupils. If it wasn't for Mr Shaunessy where would Ailsa have ended up? It also made me realize what a huge responsibility parents have, as it doesn't matter how ill you treat your child, they will always love you. A very good read!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Aileen Ng

    The author tells the story about her childhood growing up in an orphan home with her elder sister. Both parents are alcoholic. The father eventually died of cancer due to his drinking and the mother runs off with another man (apparently another alcoholic who drinks more worst than their father). Sad and sometimes can be quite disturbing but when you get to the end of the story, you will be happy that the author succeeded in her life.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Inge Hulsker

    This book is hard to read with all the dialog written in dialect. Also the crazy amount of swearwords really annoyed me. It's still a pretty good story, Ailsa is a lovable character, and the relationship with her sister is interesting. I missed her sister at the end, it feld unfinished. The entire book felt a bit unfocused, like there were a lot of different stories in there, all worked out to a certain degree. It might have worked better if it focused more on one aspect. This book is hard to read with all the dialog written in dialect. Also the crazy amount of swearwords really annoyed me. It's still a pretty good story, Ailsa is a lovable character, and the relationship with her sister is interesting. I missed her sister at the end, it feld unfinished. The entire book felt a bit unfocused, like there were a lot of different stories in there, all worked out to a certain degree. It might have worked better if it focused more on one aspect.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Brannen

    Overall a very good book, written by my English teacher. this book recalls her life growing up in Glasgow and the difficulties that she and her sister faced. the book packs excitement and emotion in very well. a brilliant read, would definitely recommend

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bev Diamond

    I enjoyed this book, although it was sad and harrowing at times, it was also inspirational and uplifting. Very easy to read. I want to know what happened to her sister in real life and what she's doing now. I enjoyed this book, although it was sad and harrowing at times, it was also inspirational and uplifting. Very easy to read. I want to know what happened to her sister in real life and what she's doing now.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gillian

    It was mainly a sequence of events about a Glasgow upbringing & in a childrens carehome, but very little information about about the feelings it engendered

  16. 4 out of 5

    Carey Combe

    Misery memoir - par excellence. I'm just waiting for the moment when she discovers she's really bright..... Misery memoir - par excellence. I'm just waiting for the moment when she discovers she's really bright.....

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bernie

    Touching and impossible to put down story of two sisters in the orphanage of Ireland 1950's. You will read it in one sitting. Touching and impossible to put down story of two sisters in the orphanage of Ireland 1950's. You will read it in one sitting.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Sinsap

    I like memoirs-- not just people telling their bad luck stories, but ones in which the writer tells stories that have a richer meaning. This one made the list.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Moira Mcinnes

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bridget Hamilton

  21. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte Macgregor

  22. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

  23. 4 out of 5

    Alma Marta

  24. 5 out of 5

    Siobhan

  25. 4 out of 5

    Daphneb Pale

  26. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  27. 5 out of 5

    Petricia

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Het boek leest makkelijk weg. Ik had wel veel moeite met de vele scheldwoorden en de zinnen in het dialect van Glasgow. Het boek heeft indruk op mij gemaakt. Het geeft goed weer wat het doet met een kind dat wegens een slechte thuissituatie naar een kostschool moet. De woede van het kind dat hoofdpersoon is is goed te begrijpen. Mooi om aan het einde van het boek te lezen dat ze toch goed terecht is gekomen.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jo

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jessie

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

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