by Roche, Juno | Biography & True Stories
Published 21/07/2022 by Little, Brown Book Group (Dialogue Books) in the United Kingdom
Hardback | 320 pages
‘Delicate and devastating. Up there with the best of them.’ HANNAH LOWE, WINNER OF THE COSTA PRIZE
‘Roche is a charming, unflinchingly honest guide on a journey that’s as funny as it is heart-breaking.’ JUNO DAWSON
How does an untrained eye recognise the process of dying, when your mind is fixed firmly on living? A radically honest and uplifting memoir about defying death and learning to live. Juno Roche was born into a working-class family in London in the sixties, who dabbled in minor crime.
For their father, violence and love lived together; for their mother, addiction was the only way to survive. School was a respite, but shortly after beginning their university course Juno was diagnosed with HIV, then a death sentence. Juno is a survivor; they outlived their diagnosis, got a degree and became an artist.
But however hard you try to take the kid out of the family, some scars go too deep; trying to run from AIDS and their childhood threw Juno into dark years of serious drug addiction, addiction often financed by sex work. Running from home eventually took Juno across the sea to a tiny village in Spain, surrounded by mountains. Only once they found a quiet little house with an olive tree in the garden did Juno start to wonder if they had run too far, and whether they have really been searching for a family all along.
In an incredibly honest and brave book, Juno takes us through the moments of their life: Mum sending Christmas cards containing Valium, drug withdrawal on a River Nile cruise, overcoming their father’s violence and finding their dream house in Spain. Showing immense resilience, Juno’s memoir is a book about what it means to stay alive. Emotional, tragic and incredibly funny, A Working-Class Family Ages Badly is an unforgettable must-read memoir for anyone who loves Educated, Deborah Levy and Motherwell.
‘Full of heart, wit and charm. I’m obsessed with this book.’ Travis Alabanza
‘So gripping, I had to make myself slow down to appreciate the quality of the writing. Such a powerful story and so beautifully written.’ Paul Burston
‘Utterly unique.Nobody can write with warmth and confrontation the way Juno can.’ Tom Rasmussen
‘Compassionate, dreamlike and deeply moving.’ CN Lester
‘Should be read by everyone.’ Irenosen Okojie
‘Juno has always been a literary voice like no one else, scathingly honest and endlessly expansive.’ Amelia Abraham