Book Review: Casting Off, by P I Paris

Publisher: Black and White Publishing

Publication date: 8 September 2016


Casting Office by P I Paris - kindle CoverOh. My. Goodness. What a wonderfully spirited story that proves there is life after youth.

At its core are the residents of a Care Home in the Highlands which captures the vibrancy of Senior Citizens from all walks of life, where age is not a hindrance (providing you’re close to the facilities). Casting Off is a story with heart, humour and soul. It had everything to make me smile like a lunatic one moment, only to find I was welling up the next.

Regardless of their current situation, every individual in Casting Off holds on to their own little quirks with both hands: we hear their stories and see how tentative friendships are nurtured over time. For some, this contact is all they have as they’re among the forgotten, but not by anyone at “We Care For You” – as the staff really do.

But the seniors know how to have a chuckle too, usually at each other’s expense! Plus, one of them likes to wear their birthday suit in his less lucid moments and frequently appears in public places in it, and another likes to raise an eyebrow with innuendos over a game of chess which lead to a few cheeky scenes!

Despite their varied abilities, either physically or cognitively, they are certainly innovative especially when it comes to raising additional funds to cover the cost of the recent increase in the home fees or move to a cheaper, unfriendly care facility. Selling their knitting wares won’t offer the monetary turnover they need. So, they have to think outside the box and their solution is an adult chat line where grannies are waiting to hear your every whim and fancy.

Their bewilderment to certain ‘requests’ is priceless, with some of the more experienced residents assisting those with less confidence in their ability to talk to the callers. To be honest none of them have the foggiest as to what their own business plan entails, but what they lack in knowledge results in a truly unique service, even if they have compromised their long standing morals to do provide it.

Stepping away from their mundane entertainment routines (like the accordion playing bloke whose entire repertoire extends to just five tunes), allows them to fight their own personal battles. Like naughty kids cunningly concealing their plans from the Matron, they have an opportunity to become champions of their own destinies when small victories are won.

Sadly due to the age or frailness of the characters (in body, not resolve) it’s inevitable that some may not be present when the cover is closed for the last time. Yet their individual journeys deserve a standing ovation, as they encompass ALL the emotions to perfection without ever being mawkish. And there’s togetherness, loneliness, forgiveness, happiness, in fact it’s brimming with ‘nesses’!

This uplifting, mischievous, and brilliantly written tale is one that has left a huge impression on me, for ALL the right reasons. And the ‘Last Post’ moment was, what can I say other than… please do read it if you get the chance.

Rating:  5/5

(I received a paperback copy of this title from the publisher with my sincere thanks, and I’m delighted to offer my unbiased review in return – I didn’t believe B & W Publishing could offer yet another book that would achieve 5/5 from me, but they absolutely have! )


(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

When the residents of a Highland care home discover that the new owners are about to substantially put up the fees, they know that dramatic action is called for. But what can a group of senior citizens possibly do against a big organisation? For Dorothy, the situation is serious. If she can t raise money she’ll have to leave all her friends, like dear Miss Ross.

In protest, the residents barricade themselves into the lounge. However, their rebellion fails, so worldly-wise Joan suggests a most unusual way to cover the rise a very naughty chat line for men who want to talk to older women in a particular way ! As their lives take a series of unexpected turns, things get increasingly out of control …

Casting Off is a hilarious, poignant tale of friendship, loyalty and sacrifice and how it’s never too late to try something new.




(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Author, playwright and journalist P I Paris lives in the Highlands of Scotland and is best known for the historical fiction and non-fiction books he wrote about the Italian chapel, built during WW2 by Italian POWs in Orkney. His contemporary novel, Men Cry Alone, broke new ground in raising the profile of domestic abuse against men.

His stage play, Casting Off, played to sell-out audiences in the autumn of 2015. The hilarious storyline is taken to new heights in this latest novel by the same name.