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Literature / The Sopranos

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Clockwise from top left: Chell, Kay, Orla, Kylah, Manda and Fionnula.

1998 novel by Alan Warner about a group of Catholic schoolgirls from the Port, a small town somewhere in the north west of Scotland, as they run wild on a school trip to Edinburgh. It was adapted into a play by Lee Hall for the National Theatre of Scotland under the title Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour. A sequel, The Stars in the Bright Sky was published in 2010 and was longlisted for that year’s Booker Prize.


Provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Name Change: Orla's last name changes from Johnstone to McAlister in Our Ladies.
    • In the play, Kylah’s band goes by Thunderpup, the name it originally had in the book before Kylah joined and changed it to Lemonfinger.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Manda in Our Ladies.
  • Body Horror: Orla’s description of the sailor in the oncology ward who was being digested by his own stomach acid.
    • Orla's Old Dear also suffered a pretty horrific miscarriage before Orla was born.
  • Bouncer: The girls' main obstacle to their night is the new bouncer at the Mantrap.
  • Brown Note: A relatively harmless example. Michelle/Shuna says that the noise from the mincing machine in the butcher's makes her baby kick. The exact note is identified in the play as F#.
  • Cool Big Sis: Manda idolises her big sister, Catriona.
  • The Disease That Shall Not Be Named: Averted. Orla and the girls speak about her cancer quite frankly. That is, until Orla realises it's come back. After that, she only refers to it as "[her] sickness".
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  • Friend to All Living Things: Chell, whose main career goal after leaving school is to work with animals.
  • Literary Allusion Title: The Stars in the Bright Sky is a line from Away in a Manger.
  • Loads and Loads of Roles: In Our Ladies the actors playing the six girls play all the characters who populate the play as well.
  • Missing Mum: Manda's mum. No reason is ever given for why she left the family.
  • Nature Abhors a Virgin: Orla sets out to lose her virginity to make up for the time she lost while she was on chemo.
  • Humble Goal: According to Fionnula, Manda's main aspiration in life is to get pregnant as soon as she leaves school, preferably by a guy with a decent job like a mechanic or a forestry worker.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted in the book where Fionnula is known as Fionnula the Cooler so as to distinguish her from Ordinary Fionnula (Morton), who is only ever mentioned in passing.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Velcro Suit.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Michelle MacGregor. In the play, her role is filled by Shuna MacLaughlin, who is only mentioned by her first name in the class list near the start of the book.
  • The 'Verse: The Port is also home to Morvern Callar.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The Port is never explicitly identified in the book, but in the play it is confirmed to be Oban.
  • Where Everybody Knows Your Flame: The Tarantula bar in Edinburgh.

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