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Frank McGillion

On The Edge of a Lifetime

Published by Mainstream of Edinburgh in April 2002

They say it never rains but it pours

... and they may well be right.

On the Edge of a Lifetime is an accurate autobiographical account – written in the format of a novel for dramatic effect – of the author’s ten years at a School for children with very special needs.

It is set in The West of Scotland, in the early nineteen fifties and sixties, and describes in a darkly humorous and frequently moving manner, what the consequences could be for children who attended such a school.

Through memorable characters such as the angelic Miss Goldenheart, the embittered Mrs Darksole, and the neurotic cleric Father Mortalsen, we experience the marginalisation and personal despair that often lay beneath the patina of devoted care such institutions portrayed.

On the Edge of a Lifetime takes an uncomfortably close look at the frequent iniquities of special education, and, despite the many attempts that have been made to obtain social and educational parity for the disadvantaged in contemporary society, its commentary is as relevant today as it would have been decades ago.

For the central issue dealt with here is prejudice. What is it? How does it happen? What does it do? And what can we do about it?

This is an important book in many ways, and one that, despite its often slapstick humour, over-the-top characters and sometimes harrowing accounts of human suffering, compels us to ask the sorts of questions we don’t like to ask, and seek answers to some of the most important issues of our times.

On the Edge of a Lifetime is a first hand account of the lives of very real, remarkable and often highly gifted children, and it’s written with the hope that you’ll get to know them very well indeed, before retreating into laughter until the tears flow.

Reviews : On the Edge of a Lifetime

“…the intermittent pictures of pupils and teachers at the mercy of an intransigent system and outsiders' blinkered vision are moving.”

Times Education Supplement , (Book of the Week) April 19th 2002

“The opening pages of Frank McGillion's, On The Edge of A Lifetime took me from the edge of a lifetime to the edge of a cliff. I found myself willing him to hang on.” Disability Now, May 2002

“A real eye-opener. Not a comfortable read.”
Glasgow Evening Times 11.5.02

Network August 2003
"This beautifully crafted autobiographical novel overflows with life…If you like writing light on the surface but which challenges you from its depths, then read this book."

Richard Milton, (Author and Broadcaster) March 2002
“A brilliantly original insight into a terrifying childhood. It will tear your heart out while you laugh your socks off.”

George Docherty, (Education Psychologist), March 2002
“Masterful. It has all the makings of a classic.”

Professor N. Ferdon Davis, (Clinical Psychologist) March 2002
"A wise, deeply sensitive book and a rollicking, fabulous read!"

Dr D. Asso, (Author Clinical Psychologist,) March 2002
“Brilliant…makes an indelible impression.”

From The Publisher : It is the best manuscript I have read since joining Mainstream...” (Senior Editor); “I have...never had so much interest in one title." (Marketing Director)