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  • Writer's pictureKatharine Light

The urge to connect

Like Me, and the novels that follow, are fiction. But as with so many stories, I have written about some aspects of my own life. I grew up south of Manchester, in a strong friendship group that saw us through our teens.

Our social lives revolved around gatherings at each other’s houses and Sunday night Youth Fellowship, the local youth club.

For us—age 16—the height of sophistication was to dress up for a dinner party we took turns to host.

This was after we’d outgrown snogging to throbbing Human League in dark cellars...

Looking back, that time seems gold-tinged with nostalgia and innocence. We had fun together. We were there for each other. But some had it tougher than others. Even in our leafy middle-class existence, families were affected by suicide, early death, marital discord, ill health, depression… not that we talked about it though.

Life felt simpler. There were fewer options. We made a plan to meet and stuck to it. No mobile phones to change the arrangements.

Now a mobile phone is one of the key ways we connect. I’ve been messaging some of the old crowd and arranging to meet up.

I see several of the girls on a regular basis, meeting a few times a year. But some of the boys I haven’t seen for a long time. They have all been so enthusiastic when they heard about the book. There have been gatherings. Here in London, as well as back in Manchester… it's life imitating art. We're doing the twenty year reunion, just like the beginning of Like Me. Except it's not twenty years, it's a lot longer than that...

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