Parklife by Lucy Nichol


Dumped, drunk and desperate – will a job serving ice-cream at the park save Emma from herself?

It’s 1996. Emma’s been rejected by the man she loves and sacked from the job she hates but desperately needs. Feeling like she’s hit a new low, she finds herself serving ice-cream and phoney smiles at the local park.

Best mate Dave’s loved up, and her dad’s finally emerging from years of unemployment and a deep depression. Everyone’s life is on the up while Emma’s plummeting towards rock bottom.

Every day she gives a free ‘99 to the lonely old man who sits on the park bench and reminds herself that life could be much worse.

But soon, even sprinkles and monkey’s blood can’t hide the truth. She’s in deep trouble and losing sight of the edge. Who will help her up when she falls?


This, just this and everything about this ! I loved it so much, I mean I knew I would just from the prologue when Emma sings her own brilliant version of Disco 2000 to Trevor, after that I was hooked and just didn’t want to stop reading at all. I grew up in the 90s, my teen years anyway so this book was just everything to me and as someone who has experiences their own mental health issues of anxiety (and periods of depression ) and a friend dealing with addiction, I just connected so much more with this than a nostalgic trip through my youth.

I haven’t read The Twenty Seven Club but after reading this I am definitely going to go pick up a copy to read more of Emma and Dave, it didn’t make any affect to me that I hadn’t read it either,I didn’t feel lost and you feel at home with these characters as soon as we meet them. Lucy is such a fabulous writer, she makes you feel every emotion, it’s so clear how much experience she has in the field of mental health as everything is treated with the full respect and sensitivity it deserves. The scary fact which is so well shown in this story is how easily it is to slip into addiction, how just a life event, challenges, even one major difficulty can just change our path and choices, it’s so beautifully handled and this should definitely be a must read for teenagers and even into early twenties, the it’ll never happen to me (invincible) crowd, it’s definitely a very sensitively handled life lesson.

The humour and nostalgia are what make this, the subtle use, so cleverly woven in so that it uplifts at the right times and prevents you from needing more tissues, or rather you need them for the tears of laughter , it’s so well done and clever. Lucy Nichol definitely takes you on a rollercoaster in this book and it’s rare to read a book that shows life isn’t all happy endings, romance and flowers, but still leave feeling better for it. This book teaches you (without patronising), amuses, saddens and uplifts, that’s a rare talent and a book I’m glad to have experienced.

Thanks to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to read this and my tour spot today.

About the Author

Lucy is a writer with a passion for mental health awareness, music, comedy and nostalgia. Her upcoming novel, Parklife, delves into addiction, recovery, friendship and hope, and is set against a backdrop of Northern life and 90s Brit Pop. Her first work of fiction, a dark comedy called The Twenty Seven Club, is the prequel to Parklife, exploring music fandom, mental health and media sensationalism. In March 2022, The Twenty Seven Club was adapted for the stage by Lucy’s husband, actor and director Chris Connel, for Live Theatre’s Elevator Festival. Her first non-fiction book, A Series of Unfortunate Stereotypes – Naming and Shaming Mental Health Stigmas, was published in 2018, and she is currently working on a second.

Lucy has written extensively in the media, her words appearing in The Independent, The I Paper, NME, Red Magazine, Metro, Den of Geek, Huff Post and many more. She is also a former columnist with Sarah Millican’s Standard Issue magazine. She is passionate about challenging mental health stigma – particularly addiction stigma – and has worked with a wide range of mental health charities including: Recovery Connections, Mind, Time to Change, Student Minds, Action on Postpartum Psychosis, Road to Recovery Trust, St Andrew’s Healthcare and Newcastle United Foundation.

She is, unfortunately, a bit of an expert when it comes to living with anxiety, and speaks openly about growing up with panic attacks and health anxiety. Lucy has also worked on behalf of Mind and Recovery Connections providing script advice for TV soaps and dramas regarding mental health (including addiction) portrayals.


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