Published 26 April 2023
It's the heatwave summer of 1976 and 14-year-old would-be poet Jackie Chadwick is newly fostered by the Walls. She desperately needs stability, but their insecure, jealous teenage daughter isn't happy about the cuckoo in the nest and sets about ousting her.
When her attempts to do so lead to near-tragedy – and the Walls’ veneer of middle-class respectability begins to crumble – everyone in the household is forced to reassess what really matters. Funny and poignant, Cuckoo in the Nest is inspired by Fran Hill’s own experience of being fostered as a teenager.
A funny, life-affirming memoir, in diary form. Set in the manic world of a busy teacher, and based on real experiences, this account of one typical year shows it’s not just the pupils who misbehave.
English teacher ‘Miss’ starts the Autumn term beleaguered by self-doubts. She’s mid-menopause, insomniac, and Mirror and Bathroom Scales are blisteringly unsympathetic. Her pupils make her laugh, weep, fume and despair, often in the same lesson. Her unremitting workload blights family time and she feels guilty for missing church events to catch up on marking. After all, God-lady is watching.
Meanwhile, the new Head of Department seems unreachable, an Ofsted inspection looms, her sixth formers (against school policy) insist on sitting in rows, and there’s a school magazine to produce ...
When childhood secrets demand attention Miss doesn’t want to give them, life gets complicated.