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A Certain Age [Paperback]

Rebbecca Ray
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
RRP: 6.99
Price: 5.60 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

5 Nov 1998
'I lost my virginity to a twenty-five year-old man. And on a schoolnight, too.' Sex with an Older Man Parents who don't understand Politics in the playground Blowjobs behind the bike-sheds Skinning up in the schoolyard It's what happens when you reach a Certain Age. Just the hormones kicking in. We've all been there . . . haven't we? A CERTAIN AGE - the reality behind the problem pages. It's what Just 17 never told you about growing up.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (5 Nov 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140275592
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140275599
  • Product Dimensions: 0.3 x 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 66,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Teenager Rebbecca Ray's debut novel paints a deeply disturbing portrait of the life of an adolescent girl growing up in small-town England in the dying breaths of the 20th century. The humiliations of her first day at secondary school soon give way to grudging acceptance as Ray's unnamed heroine learns how to "fit in". Letting boys touch her and hanging out with the misfits and trouble-makers makes daily life bearable. Which is just as well as home life is far from bearable. With a brow-beaten, ineffectual mother, whose own feelings of self-worth have long since been ground to a pulp by a bullying, overbearing husband, it comes as no surprise when their 14-year-old daughter starts dating a man old enough to be her father. Sex, drugs, paedophilia and masochism are all shrugged off by our 14-year-old leading lady whose feelings of self-loathing grow deeper, page by gripping page, until they reach a disturbing, inevitable conclusion. Written in the first person, Ray's narrative is stark and shocking. She describes a life, a family, a society too darkly accurate to be pure fiction. As a novelist, Rebbecca Ray has found a suitable channel for her emotions. Today's teenagers, meanwhile, need help. --Carey Green

From the Author

I want to say thanks.
I've just seen the reader's reviews and it means a lot to me to see that people are responding to the book. I wrote it hoping that others would recognise and be moved by the emotions described inside it. I'm so glad that people have. Thankyou for a) spending the money in the first place. I know it's a lot. b)caring about what is written inside. Reading these reviews has been a very big deal for me.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
I was about thirteen when I started letting the boys feel me up. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Youth Wasted On The Young? 5 Sep 2009
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Disturbing and ultra-realistic, this book will remind many adults of their own adolescent yearnings to fit in and be accepted by their peers, even to the point of doing things that they really don't want to do.

The fourteen-year-old un-named narrator (who I shall call X throughout this review) is the focus point throughout. What she sees, what she thinks and how she behaves is the sole viewpoint throughout the book. There is graphic sexual content and Rebecca Ray calls it as she finds it. Written when Ray was eighteen, the immediacy, intensity and powerless frustration of adolescence is brilliantly depicted. X experiments with sex, finds she hates it, but sex is the only currency by which she can achieve a measure of acknowledgement, and a certain skewed status. This book is equally uncompromising and unflinchingly observant of family dysfunction. X's parents are floundering in an unhappy, often abusive marriage, her only friend is the clingy Dawn, who makes periodic phone calls to X's father to tell him what is going on, but Dawn is incapable of understanding much beyond her own feelings of jealousy and need.

When X becomes involved with Oliver, a much older man (he is 31), there are episodes of physical abuse, welcomed by X, who later subjects herself to self-mutilation, which is described in graphic detail. Self-harming gives X a measure of relief from the dreadful, endless bickering of her home life and the emptiness of her sexual adventures. The book ends in a Christmas argument when Oliver attacks X's father.

As I read this book I felt a number of temptations. To stop reading it was only the most frequent, but at the same time I found myself recognising some of the intensely painful despair of adolescence.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring 27 Oct 2003
By A Customer
This book is brilliant. The writing style, the conversation, the shifts of emotion brilliantly paced and crafted. A book where the nearly final paragraphs are barely taken in whilst galloping to the finish to enjoy the festivities of Christmas with the family! Characters excellently depicted, deep and grittily real (shame about Michael who never seems to be anything but a smaller brother with no impact...) The topics covered self-harm, sex in very realistic teen-girl descriptors, relationships, school and the emotionality of teenage girls magnificently worded and the masterful drawing out of family relationships, especially girls and their "letting-go" dads. A gem of a book I accidently bought for want of something better, the best I have read all year - hope all my future accidents are as lucky!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I must agree with the previous reviewer. This is an excellent book which tackles difficult issues without fudging the issues. The descriptions of the heroine's loathing of the sexual adventures that she has are disturbing and evoke our pity. Despite the sensitive subject, there is a lot to laugh about in this book. The world, as seen through the eyes of a 14 year old girl, is often an amusing place. Indeed, much of the humour is directed at the heroine herself - it is her reactions to things which we as adults perhaps take for granted that make us smile. The social situations are well handled too - dialogue between mother, father and daughter, dysfunctional though it is, reads as an extremely credible and sincere view of the family unit.
I would recommend this book if you are able to handle the concepts of drug use, underage sex and self-mutilation - you don't have to agree or even sympathise with the protagonists opinions, but you will become drawn into the vivid social web.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
One of the best debut novels I've read in a long while, it recalls in a way the depression of Plath's "The Bell Jar" (IMHO) and was a book that I found myself all too readily identifying with during a period of abject depression in my life.
Some people may find it difficult to read, but if you can stomach the language and the subject matter (and can ignore the odd cover photo) then you'll find a well written and intriguing novel that leaves you wanting more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Searing, unsensational, gripping. 1 Jun 1999
By A Customer
Much has been talked about this book but I get the feeling that its author has achieved just what she intended: a searing, unsensationalised account of one girl's childhood, warts, sex and all. I'm impressed that she chose not to go the glamorous, night-clubbing and loads-of-fun route: this is a book about what happens when a girl realises her parents are vulnerable and transfers her affections for her father onto a man, who initially attractive and charming, turns out to be a weasel. But then even he turns into a three-dimensional, credible character and that's more impressive than anything. This author is going to go right to the top if A CERTAIN Age is is merely the first flowering of her talents. And, despite the fact that I'm a good many years older than her, I found the novel reminded me of a lot that doesn'tr change across the generations. Yes, it is difficult and painful at times but then who said fiction should simply entertain?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars True to teenage life! 27 Nov 2011
I started reading and wasn't overly impressed.
The narrative style reminded me of something I would have read when I was about 12, but as the story continued and it grew darker, I was enticed. It reads to true to many young girls' lives & it's so relatable covering sex, relationships and self harm. I got to the end and din't want to stop reading, Kind of wish there was a second.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars No trashy teen romance!
Loved this book. It's gritty, honest, and I honestly couldn't put it down till I'd read it all the way.
Good for a compelling quick read.
Published 7 days ago by Jenni-Lou
4.0 out of 5 stars Families!
A well written novel about how a family may live together, without ever really communicating. and the disintegration that may follow!
Published 7 months ago by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but Dark
I bought this book because of all the stars on the ratings and the fact that it'd been suggested after looking at Forever, by Judy Blume (great book) but its totally... Read more
Published 10 months ago by fromanisland
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Worth The Money
I bought this book because from the reviews it seemed like it would be a good book. However, once you start to read the book you find that it isn't good at all. Read more
Published 14 months ago by MissBright
2.0 out of 5 stars Compulsive reading but ultimately disappointing
I purchased this ebook on the strength of the preview which I found refreshing, as well as the number of positive reviews it had at the tome. Read more
Published 14 months ago by glowdoll
2.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking but depressing
I dithered over whether to give this book 2 or 3 stars because I really enjoyed the first half but upon finishing it, I can honestly say I wish I hadn't read it. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars WASTE OF MONEY!!
I bought this book together with Prozac Nation,(it was a recommendation) and I can honestly say that it is probably the worst book I have read in the last 5 years. Read more
Published on 11 April 2012 by Belindaw
1.0 out of 5 stars An absolute waste of time and money.
The book started off just okay. And it got worse from there. There was no plot to the story, no real point. There was no emotion and I found it all a bit weird. Read more
Published on 24 Sep 2011 by Haidee's Mummy
2.0 out of 5 stars Cheerless and at times crude
I gave up on this book about halfway through, mainly because it's an extremely cold and cheerless read that lacks emotional involvement with the main character. Read more
Published on 11 Jan 2011 by Helena Scullion
4.0 out of 5 stars Growing up in the late 80s....
The repressed emotion, the in depth yet subtle observations, the need to 'fit in' - took me back to when I was 14, living at home in a similar environment. Read more
Published on 30 Sep 2010 by N. A. Jones
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