"Small town, small minds,” you say, as now-to-be-neighbours watch us through twitching nets as we drag dustbin bags and old crisp boxes from the back of Maudsley Mick’s Transit. I stare back defiantly as I march up the path, ignoring the trail of tampons, playscripts, a potato masher that I leave in my wake. I am still, of course, happy to style myself as you. Because you – and Mick, and Toni, and the revolving cast of misfits, dropouts and almost-damned that bed down on borrowed floors – are all that I know.
But that is about to change...
Dido Sylvia Jones is six years and twenty seven days old when she moves from London squat to suburban Essex and promptly falls in love with Tom Trevelyan, the boy next door. It's not just him Dido falls for, though: it's also his precocious sister, Harry, and their fastidious, controlling mother, Angela.
Because Angela is everything that Edie – Dido's own mother – is not. And the Trevelyans are exactly the kind of family Dido dreams of.
Which is what Dido wants to be, more than anything else in the world.
But normal is the very thing Edie can never be, as Dido – and the Trevelyans, including Dido's beloved Tom – will eventually learn the hard way.
Like the very best families, Joanna Nadin's The Queen of Bloody Everything is funny, warm, tender and heart-breaking in equal measure. Part love story, it's ultimately about mothers and daughters; about realising, however long it takes, that family might be what you make it, but you can't change where you come from.