Narrated by three generations of women – a darkly comic family drama set in modern-day Scotland.
Daughter of a Glasgow shipyard labourer, Jean Kelly grew up in the 1930s believing that anything was possible and dreamed of becoming a star of the silver screen. After she left school at 14 and logic told her that the chances of it happening were slim, she never gave up on her dream—even when her best friend Lizzie was plucked from obscurity by a Hollywood production company and she wasn’t. But then the war and Donald came along, and by VE Day, Jean was pregnant and had resolved to become a “guid mammy” instead. Not wanting anyone to know about her failed dream or her friendship with Lizzie, Jean tells no one—not even her husband Donald.
She spends the next seven decades angry at the world; hoping against hope that by following the Catholic faith to a tee, or at least telling herself she is, that she’ll get her chance to shine in the next life instead of this one. Meanwhile, as Lizzie rises to Hollywood superstardom, Jean finds fame beyond being the first woman in Thistlegate to give birth after the war. She inspires reverence in her children, particularly youngest daughter Marie—who, from the moment she is born, is Jean’s Cinderella. This matriarchal dominance coupled with Jean’s penchant for gossiping enables her to almost convince herself that she has succeeded in life. Almost.
But after a lifetime of being subject to Jean’s petty gossip and whims, Marie finally takes a stand, unleashing her siblings’ fury and tearing apart Jean’s family—the only legacy she had to leave to the world. Jean is then forced to rethink everything she thought she knew about leading a memorable life when she finds herself in a situation more unlikely than her dream of going to Hollywood in the first place. But will she learn what it means to be a guid mammy before it’s too late?
Narrated by three generations, Jean, daughter Marie, and granddaughters Kate and Isla, be guid tae yer mammy is a darkly comic family drama set in modern-day Scotland.
The ferry’s engines roared as it cut through the Clyde’s choppy water. Ah took a deep breath o’ the salty air and looked doon at the white horses. It wis exactly whit the baby needed. Hame wis a few grey dots against the green hills in the distance. The hooses looked pretty fae here. But the church looked best o’ aw. Jesus would’ve approved o’ it bein’ the tallest buildin’. Some draft bugger hud chucked a roll and fritter oot oantae the deck. The seagulls wur squalkin’ as they battered lumps oot o’ each other tryin’ tae get a bite. Ah wis feelin’ sick fae the waves, and the squalkin’ just made me feel sicker. Ah’ve gat a smashin’ pair o’ sea legs, but nae wumman should be oan a ferry when she’s nine months gone.
“Cannae wait till oor son gets here, Donald,” ah said wi’ a haun oan ma belly.
He wis lookin’ oot the windae. “As lang as the wean’s healthy.”
Ma Donald’s a richt handsome man. He’s tall wi’ dark broon hair; everythin’ the lassies up the dancin’ want. Mind ye, he still hud tae put in a guid bit o’ effort tae get me tae go oot wi’ him. Oor girls are smashin’ lookin’ weans an aw. Ah’d dressed them in black velvet coats and tied their curly broon hair back wi’ red ribbons the day.
“Ah’ve heard boys are easier tae rear than girls,” ah said.
“It’d be nice tae huv a wean tae play fitbaw wi’,” Donald replied. “Ah cannae lie.”
“Here’s hopin’ yer son turns oot tae be a Celtic supporter an aw.”
Donald laughed. “Ah should bloody well hope so.”
These people are helping to fund be guid tae yer mammy.