Catch 52: One Man’s Tale of Surviving in a Post-Brexit World
What do you do when your love affair with Europe comes to an undignified end?
On 24th June 2016, Mike McCarthy wakes up to the news that Britain has voted to leave the EU. A committed European, he is shattered. Over the coming weeks and months, he takes a long, hard look at himself, determined to uncover the reasons why this travesty has occurred, scrutinising the faces of everyone he meets for those he believes may have voted in or out.
As he tries to cope with the looming horror of Brexit, Mike fondly recalls his visits to Europe as a young man, the relationships he formed and how these have moulded his pan-European outlook.
Digging too deeply into issues has always been his problem. Mike begins to question the views he holds so dear and discovers new things about those closest to him. As McCarthy staggers on from The Referendum to the unthinkable triggering of Article 50, he finds himself plunged himself into a different world of social comment and political media. As the strategy for Bredit emerges, he wonders where his future lies and questions his commitment to a cause that may yet plunge his and Britain’s hopes and dreams into the abyss.
Welcome to my blog, where today I am hosting the book tour for P.G.Ronane’s Catch 52. Many thanks to the author, Clink Street publishing and tour organiser Rachel Gilby for the ARC copy of the book in return for an honest review.
Firstly I must say that any political views in this post are mine and not the authors. There is no intention to offend and that I am simply expressing my views on the book.
I was looking forward to reading Catch 52, because I had a very personal and emotional reaction to the decision made to leave the EU. I should declare that I’m what has come to be termed a Remainer, and I very much consider myself as Welsh, European and then British! I know this will make some readers angry, but it’s centred around me world view and belief that in a troubled world, we are stronger together than apart!
In Catch 52 the character Mike McCarthy wakes up to the news that the British electorate have voted to leave the EU. He is shattered by this news, as I was myself and spends the novel trying to come to terms with the decision. From page one, I liked Mike, because I felt that we shared common emotions, disbelief, upset and even anger, at what I felt was a short sighted decision to sever ourselves, from an organisation set up to promote cooperation and integration. I have an instinctive distrust of politicians that use patriotism for self gain, those who exploit the fears of people who felt ignored by a political elite they decided had betrayed them. So I found Mike’s journey cathartic and I understood the range of emotions he goes through to come to a journey’s end.
What I also liked about this book, is the way the author explains how Mike comes to be so Euro centric and the life experiences that he enjoyed. It goes some way to explain why others mistrust the European Union, those less lucky than himself, who lives have not allowed them to travel and emerse themselves in other cultures. They distrust what they may not understand. Or it could be that they have travelled and just not liked or enjoyed the cultures they came across.
I liked the way P.G Ronane doesn’t seek to judge those that voted to leave the European Union too harshly. The reasons people voted the way they did, were complicated and not just based on anti European vitriol. We all have our views about what happened and the writer importantly acknowledges this. It’s a well balanced and interesting read.
There was one thing that niggled me about Catch 52 and its a minor point. The author notes that Wales voted as a nation to leave the EU. This isn’t true, parts of Wales voted to remain, including my beloved home Cardiff, which held up its creditials as a city that aims to be inclusive. He doesn’t label all of England as voting leave, so it would be nice to ackllowedge that Wales is also a diverse nation politically. But its a small niggle. This is a novel, not a non fiction look at why people voted the way they did. As such, this point would only really bother me and I doubt would even be picked up by many readers.
Given Catch 52 has such a strong political theme, it may not be for everyone, but I urge people to give it a try. For Remainers so they realise they are not alone and Brexiters so they can understand why so many people have had such an emotional reaction to Brexit. If we are to heal as a nation, we need to be able to see both sides of a very emotional journey, to a Britain that sits on the presapice of a very uncertain future.
Catch 52 is an excellent look at the events that took place and voices the journey so many have also undergone.
You can buy Catch 52 via Amazon
After three decades of serving as a police officer in the inner-city areas of Liverpool, P.G.Ronane retired and decided to go back to school, run for office and travel the European continent. Now 61, he is an education manager living in Wirral with his family. This is his first book.