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Slam Paperback – 1 Jul 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Re-issue edition (1 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241950287
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241950289
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 664,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nick Hornby was born in 1957, and is the author of six novels, High Fidelity, About a Boy, How To Be Good, A Long Way Down (shortlisted for the Whitbread Award)Slam and Juliet, Naked. He is also the author of Fever Pitch, a book on his life as a devoted supporter of Arsenal Football Club, and has edited the collection of short stories Speaking with the Angel. He has written a book about his favourite songs, 31 Songs, and his reading habits,The Complete Polysyllabic Spree. In 2009 he wrote the screenplay for the film An Education. Nick Hornby lives and works in Highbury, north London.



Product Description

Review

Truthful and funny (Sunday Times )

Hornby takes the raw ironies of life and gently rubs away at them to reveal gems of bittersweet truth (Observer )

A moving read for anyone (Elle )

Touching, very funny (Guardian )

Hornby gets his point across with the subtlety and skill of a born novelist who always deserves to be read (Independent )

Warm, witty and wise (Arena )

Hornby's writing is hilarious (Cosmopolitan ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Nick Hornby was educated at Cambridge and began his career as an English teacher before going on to write the internationally bestselling novels High Fidelity, About a Boy, How to be Good and A Long Way Down. He has written three works of non-fiction: the hugely popular Fever Pitch, 31 Songs and The Complete Polysyllabic Spree. Fever Pitch, High Fidelity and About a Boy have all been made into successful films. Nick has won many awards and is a huge pop-music fan. He lives and works in Highbury, north London. Slam is his first teenage fiction novel. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 47 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross TOP 500 REVIEWER on 17 Oct. 2007
Format: Hardcover
I've been a huge fan of Hornby's since the early days, including his non-fiction, and this step into YA lit feels totally natural. After all, so many of his protagonists (including himself) are young men struggling to come to terms with adulthood and the responsibilities of "growing up." Here, the dilemma is much the same, however it's much more direct, and instead of a young man grappling adulthood, it's a teenage boy grappling with the implications of a monumental adult responsibility.

I'm guessing there have been a number of good YA books about teen pregnancy -- and if that's the case, add this one to the list. The simple story is narrated by 18-year-old North London lad Sam, reflecting back over the past two years. While it's pretty bare bones -- the cast doesn't really extend beyond Sam, his girlfriend, their respective parents, and two skater acquaintances -- things are made livelier though the device of having Sam discuss his problems with a poster of legendary pro skater Tony Hawk (whose responses are passages Sam has memorized from Hawk's autobiography). There are also a few jumps into dream sequence/time-travel which break up the straightforward narrative, although they don't actually add up to that much.

The book's real strength comes from Hornby's ability to capture the inner life of a teenage boy while avoiding all the usual pitfalls. Sam is neither too articulate nor too dense, and he's basically a well-adjusted, pleasant teen who hasn't gotten into any trouble -- until now. His narrative is full Hornby's trademark observational wit, although without nearly as many pop culture trappings as usual. The book certainly carries a cautionary message about teen sex, but it's never hectoring or reductionist. There's a strong sense of hopefulness for Sam, despite the deep hole he's dug himself. It's not an amazing book, but certainly a cut above the average.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jo on 4 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
Things are finally going right for 15-year-old Sam; it looks likely he'll go to college, his Mum has dumped her crap boyfriend, and he now has a gorgeous girlfriend, Alicia. Everything is great - until one tiny slip up changes everything Sam knows. Alicia falls pregnant, and this kid has to face adult responsibilities, but is he up to it?

This book is so good! A lot better than I thought it would be. It's a story you would think is not worth reading; it seems teenagers get pregnant a lot, and there's only three endings, so why bother reading? Because this book gets right into Sam's head, and having the male perspective is such an eye opener.

Sam is a skater, and a huge Tony Hawk fan. His being a skater is where the title comes from; in skating, when you slam - as I understand it - it's when you fall off your board badly, so the title is metaphorical for him slamming in life. He has read Tony Hawk's autobiography Hawk - Occupation: Skateboader so many times, he's pretty much memorised it. So when he needs to turn to somebody to talk to, he turns to his Tony Hawk poster, who talks back to him; meaning, Sam will say something, and his memory will come up with something related Hawk wrote in his book. And it helps. But Hawk does some funny things too. Like somehow managing to take Sam into the future. Without telling Sam.

The story of Slam is told by Sam at 18, and it's very conversational, so when Sam first talks about being "whizzed" to the future, he says:

"Most of the story I'm telling you happened to me for sure, but there are a couple of little parts, weird parts, I'm not absolutely positive about. I'm pretty sure I didn't dream them up, but I couldn't swear that on Tony Hawk's
book, which is my bible.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. L. Rees TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 4 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
Sam Jones, 16 - the age of his mother when he was born. Skateboarding is his passion - champion Tony Hawk his guru, autobiography his much thumbed Bible. A poster of Hawk dominates the bedroom wall, consulted whenever in need of advice.

Second passion? New girlfriend Alicia.

Quite an enjoyable life really.

"WARNING! YOU MUST HAVE AN IQ OF A BILLION TO PUT THIS ON PROPERLY!"

Too late Sam learns the limitations of condoms - all at once to be plunged into a world of care and ever-increasing responsibilities.

Here is humour with gritted teeth, the study of an adolescent mind when "disaster" strikes. What to do now? Cut and run? (That brief interlude in Hastings amuses but does not convince.) Insist on an abortion? Be there to support? Tony Hawk can hardly help with this one. Suddenly all becomes mysterious: Sam "whizzed" into a vivid future where he makes every mistake in the book. Forewarned is forearmed. When that future arrives for real, Sam is far better able to cope with it.

An angst-filled read, which I rather enjoyed. It is not just about Sam, of course, but the people around him - Alicia especially. The end may disappoint some, but others may find it rings true and proves heartening.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ian Wood, Author of 'Here's 2 Absent Fathers' on 18 Jan. 2008
Format: Hardcover
I wasn't particularly looking forward to reading Nick Hornby's `Slam', his first teenage novel. It was nineteen years since I was last a teenager and even then I think I was probably too old for the term to really stick. However this was a novel by Nick Hornby whose `High Fidelity' is my favourite novel; whose `Fever Pitch' is my favourite memoir; I think you get the idea, I like Nick Hornby, I don't however like teenagers. Anyway there was nothing for it, I had to roll up my sleeves, grit my teeth, grasp the nettle and take the book by the spine.

I'm so glad I did, what a fantastic and painfully funny book. Certainly Hornby's best since `About a Boy' with which it sets a fairly consistent tone. This is quite remarkable as `Slam' is written in the first person as a teenage boy. Although `About a Boy' was very insightful into the mind of an adolescent boy and his relationship with the adults around him it didn't have to do it in the boy's voice. `Slam' is written in a very convincing voice of a fifteen year old boy, although the language and passions for music and skating very much tie the novel to the present the spirit in which it is written ties it to teenagers of any generation and consequently I can feel a certain empathy for a teenager I could obviously have fathered.

I don't want to tell you anything of the plot as it would spoil the book to hear about it in my voice rather than `Sam's', trust me it's better than the blurb which relies too heavily on the Tony Hawks fandom to give a balanced appreciation of the book.

I think that the reason that Sam's voice in `Slam' works is that it still resonates with the same passion as Rob's did in `High Fidelity'.
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