Book Review: “Frankie Says Relapse” by Siobhan Curham

As I have posted about before, I am working on a book about Frankie Goes To Hollywood and their fans, Frankie Fans Say. While the results of a survey of Frankie fans will form a key part of this, I will also be using a wide range of other materials. I have recently re-read Brian Nash’s Nasher Says Relax and also read Tom Watkin’s Let’s Make Lots of Money. But while going through the excellent resources on Mark Ward’s website, I came across mention of another book, Frankie Says Relapse. Despite being published in 2003 and my interest in all things Frankie, I’d not come across it before, so I quickly got hold a copy.

The front cover jars a little bit as it has ‘SAYS’ rather than ‘SAY’ – but it soon turns out that the reason for this is that Frankie is also the name of the child of the protagonist, and was named after Frankie Goes To Hollywood. This made me chuckle as my book FOUR had just been published and there was a similar storyline in that – albeit using a fictional group name rather than a real one.

Before getting into the book, there is an introduction to the author herself.

Siobhan Curham is thirty-two years old and lives in North West London with her husband, son and an extensive collection of Frankie Goes To Hollywood remixes.

Thanks to the cover and this text, there is little doubt that Frankie (the group) would feature in the book.

I don’t want to give too much away about the premise of the book itself – but the key thing that you need to be aware of is that it operates over two timelines. One, using a diary written by the protagonist, in 1984-5. The other timeline is the present day (i.e. around 2002/3, I assume).

Keep in mind that I was primarily reading this book due to my interest in Frankie Goes To Hollywood and what aspects of the book I could discuss in my own book. Despite that, at times, early on I felt there were almost too many mentions of Frankie. I did have a shock at the mention of a ‘Mersey mix’ of Welcome to the Pleasuredome, thinking this was something I was missing from my collection, but as the book went on and other mixes were mentioned, I realised that these were fictional creations of the author (or if they are real, I’ve not come across them yet and that will give me something else to go hunting for this year!). But as the book (or rather the diary part of the book) settled down and I got more used to reading it, it made more sense – reminding me about how obsessive teenagers can be (I dare say a theme that will come out in my book on Frankie) – and, if anything, the Frankie references became less obvious (more T-shirts, albeit using SAYS rather than SAY, than music) as the book went on (and there is plenty of mention of other music, for example).

I don’t particularly have a genre of books that I read – I will give almost anything a go (partly as it also aids me with my own novel writing) and I dislike the idea of pigeon-holing books in to genre in the first place. There is much about this book that screams that its target audience is probably women. But it shouldn’t be. I really enjoyed. The diary parts helped me to remember certain aspects of 1984/5 (although I’m not sure all of the details were totally accurate chronologically – but that doesn’t matter, it is a work of fiction not a history book). It was also interesting reading the diary of a teenage girl – however fictional it is – from this time. The only comparable diary I’d ever read was Adrian Mole’s and I certainly had no idea of the sort of thoughts or conversations with a diary teenage girls were having then (or now, come to that). The rest of the book, I suspect, is something that many people can find relatable and it is very well put together.

You don’t have to be a Frankie fan to enjoy this book. It is a lot of fun and it’s really time that a TV dramatization of it was done (I assume that I’ve not missed out on that somehow).

Click here to get more information about the book on Amazon.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Rob Grillo says:

    I’ll have to look for this, I hadn’t heard of it either. I also wrote about Frankie (or rather the different mixes of Relax & TT) in my book ‘Is That The 12″ Remix’. ZTT were kind enough to allow use of two of Two Tribes 12″ covers for the book.


    1. HoodCP says:

      Will get a copy of your book to add to my reading materials. Thanks for the comment.


      1. Rob Grillo says:

        Keep up the great work. I’ll certainly be grabbing a copy of yours 🙂


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