The novel Divided City by Theresa Breslin Is set in gloomy Glasgow, Scotland, in the recent times. The story is aimed at teenagers and adults alike and concerns the asylum seeking problems and associated racism towards illegal immigrants who had arrived in Glasgow at this time. I really enjoyed this novel as it was good to see each supporters of Rangers and Celtic, be such good friends. Even in today’s modern time, it’s refreshingly different to see the ‘old firm’ barrier being obliterated, with the two pals showing total trust and friendship with each other, despite their religious differences.
Which of course, this is the way it should be with society. The novel also had a really good storyline and plot to which I learned a lot more about racism and sectarianism from this book. It profiles both how dull Scotland can be and how wonderful it can be when you see, so called enemy’s, be friends. Graham finds a young man, an asylum seeker, lying stabbed, bleeding in the street, crying for help. Graham doesn’t want to help as he might get stopped and questioned by the police, who might see him as a suspect for the possible assault on this man. Graham has to make the right choice, it’s all down to him if he wants to save that young wounded man’s life or face the wrath of his mother for disobeying her instructions, when she finds out that he took the risky shortcut home and came across the violated male.
He is scared that his mum will ban him from playing football with his new best pal, when she finds out he disobeyed her wishes and this will prevent him getting into the Glasgow City Football team. Graham is an ordinary young teenager, playing football, boisterous and getting up to mischief, etc, He is placed in some awkward and scary circumstances, but comes through in the end. We first see Graham in the novel straight away, when he takes a shortcut home from football training to save money to buy chips, This decision leads Graham into danger, big danger!. He see’s a young boy getting stabbed by a large gang and he now has to decide whether to help the boy, with the potential that his parents find out, it might effect the most important thing in his life, playing football.
Graham finds out that the wounded man is an asylum seeker and on returning home, decides to research what happens in the asylum seeking process. Graham his very big religious beliefs and doesn’t usually like catholics and especially Celtic fans. But Joe was different, although he was a Catholic and a mad Celtic fan, it didn’t stop them playing football together, going to each others houses, socializing in the town together, everything normal friends would do, Graham’s Granda is a staunch protestant, always talking about the orange walk and how he wants Graham to join it. Graham and his granda are really close and have glue like bond. Joe has a totally different background than Graham, with his family being ardent catholics, who absolutely despise protestants. When Graham goes to meet Joe in his town, he has to say to everyone that he’s a celtic fan, or else his safety could be compromised.
Joe is a kind loving boy who doesnt care too much about religion, as he treats Graham like a normal person, They joke around about their beliefs. Graham doesnt have a clue about Catholics and when Joe said he was going to put candles down for his mum, he didn’t know what he was meaning and said it was pointless and stupid, This made them fall out for a bit, but they soon were the best of friends. Graham is under a lot of pressure to impress his Grampa Reid, By having to go to the Orange walks and everything, Grampa Ried is the most protestant guy you will ever meet, does everything for it, he first joined the orange walk when he was 14 and has been mad with it ever since, Grampa Ried really wants Graham to follow his footsteps and be a true protestant, but to be honest i don’t think Graham is any keen, and is just doing it because he is pressured into it. The author makes us feel sorry about Kayol, by doing a lot of things.
I feel extremely sorry for him as if he gets found out to be an asylum seeker, he will have to go home, away from everyone, his girlfriend and friends, Kayol is a really nice boy and just got caught at the wrong time by a bunch of stupid people, trying to murder him because of his race, Kayol was getting abused and hurt over at his own country, so that’s why he moved, and now he has to go back to that. When Joe and Graham go to the catholic church to put a Candle down for his mum, Graham didn’t understand what was going on and was blown back by it, He was making fun of Joe saying whats the point in that, Joe was really annoyed what graham was saying and they fell out. Divided City is an extremely good, interesting book, It does give us a lot of thought-provoking questions, it shows us that religion doesn’t matter and that if you like a person for who he is, not what he believes.