"an intimate and frighteningly acute exploration of a mother-son relationship and a masterful portrait of alcoholism in Scottish working-class life..."
"he did whatever had caused her to laugh another dozen times till her smile stretched thin and false, and then he searched for the next move that would make her happy."
"She was no use at maths homework, and some days you could starve rather than get a hot meal from her, but ... Everyday with the make-up on and her hair done, she climbed out of her grave and held her head high. When she had disgraced herself with drink, she got up the next day, put on her best coat, and faced the world. When her belly was empty and her weans were hungry, she did her hair and let the world think otherwise."