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Grow Up [Paperback]

Ben Brooks
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

7 July 2011
Who says youth is wasted on the young? Jasper wants to get on in the world, but life is distracting. He's got his A-levels to contend with, his mother pushing him to overachieve, weekly visits to his psychologist, come-downs, YouTube suicides and pregnant one-night-stands. And then there's his step-dad - the murderer. Hilarious and heartbreaking by turns, GROW UP is the ultimate twenty-first-century coming-of-age novel. It paints a vivid portrait of the pills and thrills and bellyaches of growing up today. Funny, smart and twisted, it is the story of one young man transformed.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd; Main edition (7 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857861875
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857861870
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 117,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


The most convincing portrayal of the adolescent mind since Vernon God Little - Like Holden Caulfield on Mephedrone. --Ewan Morrison

Engaging, funny and sharply-written. I loved it. Somehow manages to be both brutally uncompromising and really warm-hearted. --Chris Killen

GROW UP is absolutely knockout - Brooks is blessed with a blinding grasp of terse, lyrical prose, and has the timing of a genius stand-up comic. Top class. --Richard Milward author of Apples

A new literary bomb. --Shame Jones author of Light Boxes

Ben Brooks is a magical imp who pumps out dark nuggets of poetry and makes you snort with laughter. --Noel Fielding

Sickeningly good. So confident, so stylish. An unacceptably witty and original debut. --Tim Key

In a world in which youth is fetishised as much as it is, Brooks revels in what everyone secretly knows -- namely, that teenagers are all, in some way or another, idiots. Jasper and his friends are as earnest as they are ironic, selfish, cruel, giddy and unthinking. Adults, he is confident, are clueless and easily manipulated ... although by the end he starts to twig that perhaps they are not as stupid as he would like to believe. --Times

This is a totally convincing portrait of being a wayward teenager now, that only a teenager could have written. It's so pertinent it actually kind of trips you out. It's pretty mental that Ben Brooks is any good now: imagine how good he could be by the time he actually does grow up. --Dazed & Confused

Brooks has an ability to show us the world through the eyes of a teenage boy and his fast-paced, expressive narration. Without all of this, we might feel as though we were being led down too many familiar paths; instead, our expectations are neatly subverted. --Scotsman

About the Author

Ben Brooks was born in 1992 and lives in Gloucestershire. He is also the author of four other books Fences, An Island of Fifty, The Kasahara School of Nihilism, and Upward Coast & Sadie. Brooks' work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and published in the Dzanc Best of the Web anthology.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authentic, shocking & funny 9 July 2011
This is the story of Jasper, a quirky, egotistical, frequently frustrated and even more frequently funny seventeen-year-old. He's by turns capricious, irritating, charming, scheming and even sweet. The author's 19, which shouldn't be relevant, I know, but somehow is, because this all feels horribly, but enticingly real, like you've actually opened up someone's diary and are in on every hope and fear going through their head. It's like a punked up version of Joe Dunthorne's SUBMARINE. And smacks of the kind of authenticity Skins would kill for. Looking forward to seeing what Brooks comes up with next. Something exciting and unexpected, I should think.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great writer but not for the easily offended 27 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you want to read about a normal teenage English boy, then this is the book for you. Our protagonist Jasper is a seventeen year old boy. He's typically self-absorbed. He can be quite a charmer and quite thoughtful but most of the time he's just irritating. Still, the author makes you want to continue reading about him. Jasper is always avoiding studying and looking for sex, drugs, drink and cigarettes. Some of the storyline is completely over the top, but I guess that's realistic for a teenager. The author was a teenager when he was writing the book, so it does feel quite authentic and Jasper feels like a character that teenagers could relate to.

I think if you're going to read this book, you definitely need to keep an open mind. It could easily offend a lot of people with its subject matter.

Ben Brooks is a talented writer, so I think he's definitely one to look out for!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Misadventures of an Annoying English Teenager 22 April 2012
If you want a window into the world of contemporary suburban middle-class English teenage life, this is the book for you. It's narrated by Jasper, a seventeen-year-old boy with all the characteristics of many of his ilk: self-absorbed, sometimes thoughtful, sometimes charming, often irritating, generally scheming to avoid studying and on the lookout for maximum sex, drugs, booze, and good times with his friends. Although the book is sometimes quite winning and amusing, Jasper's narration can also veer unevenly between bursts of insight and unbelievable idiocy. One subplot involves his belief that his mother's live-in boyfriend murdered his ex-wife, and his pseudo investigation in an attempt to bring evidence to light. It just comes across as ridiculous that even someone as flighty as Jasper would wander as far down that road of self-delusion as he does. And that detracts from the general realism of the rest of the book, which is quite good at depicting bored teenagers killing time with drinks, bad TV, video games, sex, and the like. It's not salacious or sensationalistic in any sense, just matter of fact in a way that only a writer confident of their subject matter can pull off. (The author was a teenager when writing the book, hence the ring of authenticity). Still, despite the relatively strong portrayal of that milieu, I never found the misadventures of an annoying teenage guy all that compelling, especially as some of his treatment of other people (especially girls) is downright awful. I guess that's the reality of teenage guys, but it's not a reality I needed to spend more time with.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Is this book badly written? Not especially. Is it written in a readable style? Definitely. It is a bit like 'Submarine', but nowhere near as good.

I read it all, hoping it would get better, but it actually got worse.

The problem is that Jasper knows how badly he has behaved on numerous occasions, but does not care.

He sexually uses girls (who of course when he is compos mentis he doesn't want anything to do with), writes about rape, time wastes on sexsites where SE Asian women are desperate for the cash (which he does not spend) kills a cat, and drugs and rapes a girl he fancies (he knows that otherwise she will not look at him) - which we are all meant to find OK because his female friend (with whom he had sex in the same hour as the drug rape) tells him that it wasn't rape.

And all this is apparently funny!

I have a 17yo son. I have led a pretty wild life and in no way am a conventional parent, but I really hated this book because it is a litany of abuse of women and girls. I would like to recommend a contemporary book to my son (not that he ever reads!) but I could not recommend this.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DO YOU WANT NU-RAVE OR DO YOU WANT THE TRUTH? 9 July 2011
Canongate seem to have a knack for publishing funny, intelligent, slightly hip novels - see 'Naive.Super' and 'The Bird Room', for example - and 'Grow Up' is definitely a continuation in this tradition.

It's hard for any aspiring writer not to be jealous of Ben Brooks' credentials. He hasn't even reached his twentieth birthday and he has four books in print as well as a pushcart prize nomination to his name. But, as Raymond Carver wrote, "Ambition and a little luck are good things for a writer to have going for him. Too much ambition and bad luck, or no luck at all, can be killing. There has to be talent." And Brooks certainly has talent.

Brooks had an early start managing to make a name for himself with his unique experimental fiction, which often had more in common with poetry than straight-up prose. He released three books in print on small presses in America and also saw his shorter work published in some reputable online journals. But 'Grow Up' sees a departure from this earlier style, producing a more accessible form. While still retaining the vivid sense in which Brooks' paints his world he also manages to bring forth a comic voice. In fact, it has been a long time since I have laughed so much while reading a novel.

It has been said that 'Grow Up' is "full of sex and drugs", but, while many movies, TV shows and novels use sex and drugs as something to make their products "edgy" in an attempt to reach their "target audience", you can't help but feel that the sex and drugs within 'Grow Up' are a report from a lived experience, not included to make the book sell more copies or anything cynical like that but to give a realistic account of what life is like for teenagers, or at least Ben Brooks, growing up in the 21st century suburban England.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
This book was a brilliant read, both amusing and captivating. It strongly reminded me of Joe Dunthorne's Submarine. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Chloe
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny as @$&@
Funny, politically incorrect and at times touching.
The life and times of a modern teenager. Grow Up is a great book.
Published 5 months ago by
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Ever Really Happened
It was a bit of a let down really. The plot was weak at best and nothing really ever happened. It was funny at times but it wasn't a work of art.
Published 8 months ago by Chris
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book
I love this book. I bought the kindle edition and read it on my app on my iPhone and its one of the best books I've ever read. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Emsfollowill
2.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down
Best book I've read in ages! I took it on holiday and was only there for a few days and finished it. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Trudy mercer
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly witty
The narrative of this book was wonderful and heartwarming, however at times it was sad dealing with the issues of growing up and family splits. Read more
Published 11 months ago by PixcyPants
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
Understated, unique, beautiful to read and wonderfully new. This is quite easily one of the best book I've read all year.
Published 12 months ago by Tabby
4.0 out of 5 stars great book
The book game right on time so I didn't have to wait around for long.
Also the book is pretty good, it made me laugh quite a lot. Read more
Published 12 months ago by bradleyb10
5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh out loud funny
Bought this as one of my summer reads for my holiday and absolutely loved it.

If you're a fan of other coming of age books (Ned Vizzini's 'it's kind of a funny story',... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Ellie Morgan
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius
A lot of critics have reasonable the book claiming it is disposable and badly written, but I think they have missed the point entirely, for this novel is an absolute must read from... Read more
Published 14 months ago by stacey
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