Spit Against The Wind is a family drama set against the backdrop of a rundown Scottish mining town in the 1960s. The story is told from the perspective of Cathy, a ten year old school girl who shows remarkable insight into an adult's world; she describes the weaknesses and failures of her father and other adults around her and the impact they have on their children. It is a remarkable example of how children often pick up on situations and moods that adults assume go over their heads.
Tony, an American lad, comes to live in Cathy's village and he illuminates her whole life. He is, to her, just like an American film star and leads her and her two compadrets, Dan and Jamie, into all sorts of scrapes and adventures. The kids enjoy life to the full,resilient and high-spirited, despite Cathy's drunken father, Tony's violent secret ex Nazi step-dad, Jamie's wife-beating dad and Dan's sexual abuse at the hands of the parish priest. The book touches on themes of disillusioned love, the disgrace of out of wedlock pregnancy and the hypocrisy of the Catholic church. A key figure is Cathy's ambitious older brother, Kevin, off to emigrate to Australia despite his father's protestations, but not before he sees the bishop and threatens him with the papers unless he sorts out the perverted priest. Kevin has watched his dad lead a fruitless, depressing life and shows how, with youth and determination, it is possible for the younger generation to break the mould set by their forefathers. It is ultimately a mixture of tragedy and triumph; Tony's bid to runaway leads to heartbreaking consequences but Cathy's older sister defies convention and keeps her illigitimate child. A stirring story of the small mindedness of a close knit community, Spit Against The Wind also leaves room for the first seeds of change to be sewn.