Excerpt from Long Story Short by Siobhan Parkinson, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Long Story Short

by Siobhan Parkinson

Long Story Short
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Jun 2011, 160 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Tamara Smith

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

I did miss her. I missed a good hot dinner that didn't come out of one of those microwave Pot Noodle tubs for a start. I missed my five clean shirts every Sunday night, all ironed and on hangers for school. Yes, I can iron my own shirts—I may be sad, but I am not a sad bastard—but only if I have remembered to wash them in the first place, and to take them out of the machine before they go manky with mold, and hang them up to dry. And, see, that sequence of events didn't happen many weeks, and never two weeks in a row. So of course I missed my grandmother.

But mostly, I missed someone who knew what to do about Julie. I haven't mentioned her before, because I just don't know what to say. That's the real bitch about all this.

That came out wrong. Julie is not a bitch. She's just a little girl whose grandmother is dead and has no parents to speak of. And if you think it's bad for me—I am fourteen after all, I can find some sort of way to get by—it's a whole lot worse for an eight-year-old with a big imagination and a tiny understanding and a great gawping hole where the love should be.

God, I dunno where that came out of, a great gawping hole where the love should be. Maybe I could get a job working for a greeting card company, writing the prayery kind of words they have on the insides of cards that have a photograph of a bluebell on the front, or a sunset.

Anyway, it was the apples that started it, but it wasn't because of the apples that I rang the police. (I am not that thick.) It was when she hit Julie.

I mean, I couldn't have that, could I? She's only a little kid. Well, she's eight, but she's young for eight, if you know what I mean. She's not stupid or anything, she's good at school and all that. It's just that she's... well... it's as if you could break her if you dropped her. Maybe it's because of the situation, or maybe it's just the way she is.

She cried when Ma hit her. She may be young for her age, but she's not a crybaby, and I think it wasn't even so much because it hurt, but because she was just so totally dazed. No one ever hit her before. I mean, yeah, a smack on the back of the hand if she's reaching for one biscuit too many or a biff on the shoulder to steer her out of the path of some kind of disaster, but a blow full in the face, a blow so hard I could hear the impact—that is not on. That is assault.

So there's Julie sitting on the floor surrounded by apples, all snot coming down her face and her wispy, mousy hair catching in it so parts of it are wet and clumpy, and she's gulping with sobs and letting out this high-pitched wail, and Ma all rolled up tight in an armchair with her legs under her, her head tucked into her chest so you can only see the top of her hair, and her arms over her ears, and rocking, rocking, and me in the middle of it all with the portable phone in my hand, dialing 9-9-9.

She must have heard the pips, because she looked up before I even spoke and let out an almighty yell at me.

"Garda," I roared over her yell, into the mouthpiece of the phone. I shouldn't have roared, because that word, at that decibel level, really got to Ma, and she came bounding out of her chair and knocked the phone out of my hand.

"Don't you dare call the police!" she snarled, pulling my ears so that I had to lower my face to hers and got the stench of booze and vomit off her breath. "Just don't you dare. You are in my house, you are under my roof, and you do not…" She couldn't bring herself to name my crime, evidently.

She pushed me in the chest, so I staggered backwards and nearly fell on top of Julie, who was still howling on the floor.

"Hello?" came a squeaky little voice from under the sofa, where the phone lay on its back on the floor. "Hello?" A lifeline.

Excerpted from Long Story Short by Siobhan Parkinson. Copyright © 2011 by Siobhan Parkinson. Excerpted by permission of Roaring Brook Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Siobhán Parkinson

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
  • Book Jacket: The Mothers
    The Mothers
    by Brit Bennett
    Every now and then the publishing industry gushes about a young author destined to become the next ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Next
    by Stephanie Gangi

    Fast-paced, wickedly observant, and haunting in the best sense of the word.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Les Parisiennes
    by Anne Sebba

    How the women of Paris lived, loved, and died under Nazi occupation.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.