Style of writing
The language of “Loose Change” by Andrea Levy is fairly simple and occasionally humorous.
Humour is used when the narrator first describes the physical traits of Laylor to us:
She had wide black eyes and a round face with such a solid jaw line that she looked to have taken a gentle whack from Tom and Jerry's cartoon frying pan. She dug into the pocket of her jacket and pulled out a bulging handful of money. It was coppers mostly. Some of it tinkled on to the floor. (p. 1, ll. 19-23)
Laylor is described as masculine, and the image of the Tom and Jerry frying pan is humorous. However, the more we get to know the narrator and realise that she does not sympathise with Laylor at all, the less humorous her descriptions seem. In fact, this type of humour seems unkind. The same goes for the narrator’s description of Laylor’s brother.
Two important repetitions underline how the narrator sees herself. First, she repeats that she is from London: “I'm a Londoner. Not even little grey-haired old ladies passing comment on the weather can shame a response from me. I'm a Londoner - aloof sweats from my pores.” (p. 1, ll. 1-3)
The repetition suggests the narrator takes pride in being a Londoner and a reserved Englishwoman. It is part of her identity, which might explain why she cannot really imagine helping Laylor.
Then the narrator mentions twice...