When a novel which begins with two strangers meeting on Huddersfield railway station does not immediately descend into another grim, Northern cliché, it’s quite a relief. When it goes on to demonstrate that people living in Yorkshire have actual careers and mobile phones, not just troubled lives on’t moor or down’t mill, it’s a positive joy.
Stretching It does just that and more. It’s a witty, well written tale of thirty-something Jenny, whose problems are not all of her own making, but not taking charge of them is all her fault. Jenny’s relationship with her impossible mother is tender but exasperating. Her love life has become permanently on hold and her career is under the scrutiny of a new boss who has anger management issues.
Jenny decides to take charge, but then her life becomes somehow even more complicated, when she tries lonely-hearts dating, her boss gives her a big chance and her mother takes a lover. Jenny is a great character, her tribulations make you laugh and wince at the same time. I read the book in one sitting, finishing at two in the morning. It was worth the loss of sleep.