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Student
 
 

Student [Kindle Edition]

David Belbin
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Review

We have almost no university literature in the UK. David Belbin is ideally placed to help start it off, and this book is a valuable addition to the YA range. Anyone who has been or is at university will relate to the characters. The full range of experiences from that first year after leaving home are all here - isolation, friendship, sex, loyalty, heartbreak, happiness, despair. Some succeed, some fail; of them struggle. The book is full of honesty and insight, and you never know until the very end who is going to make it and who is going to fall by the wayside. --Melvin Burgess

Tense, honest and pacy - exactly the things you'd expect from a David Belbin novel. I couldn't put it down. --Nicola Monaghan

Fleeing a dysfunctional home life, an ex-boyfriend and an attempted rape, Allison starts her first year at Nottingham University intent on making a clean break from her past. As you might expect, sex, drugs, cheap booze and ill-advised games of 'Truth and Dare' form the meat of her extra-curricular education, but Belbin is too canny a writer to slew the book to devolve into nothing but the cliches of student life. Each chapter is a snapshot of Allison's life over the course of her three year degree, and we see her grow, change and stumble onward through the extended adolescence to find some kind of maturity on the other side. Allison makes for a smart, vulnerable and honest protagonist, and Belbin depicts her unsteady emotional development with a sure voice and no trade of indulgence. Required reading for ex-students. --Robin Lewis, LeftLion

A beautifully written page-turner, the most sensitive portrayal of uni life I've ever read. 'Student' is absolutely up to date, spot on and believable - touching. Best 'campus' novel in years. --Jonathan Taylor, author of Entertaining Strangers (Salt) & Take Me Home

Fleeing a dysfunctional home life, an ex-boyfriend and an attempted rape, Allison starts her first year at Nottingham University intent on making a clean break from her past. As you might expect, sex, drugs, cheap booze and ill-advised games of 'Truth and Dare' form the meat of her extra-curricular education, but Belbin is too canny a writer to slew the book to devolve into nothing but the cliches of student life. Each chapter is a snapshot of Allison's life over the course of her three year degree, and we see her grow, change and stumble onward through the extended adolescence to find some kind of maturity on the other side. Allison makes for a smart, vulnerable and honest protagonist, and Belbin depicts her unsteady emotional development with a sure voice and no trade of indulgence. Required reading for ex-students. --Robin Lewis, LeftLion

Product Description

Allison wants to live life to the full. By going to university, she leaves behind her boyfriend, her mother and the guy who tried to rape her. She throws herself into drugs, sex and study. But student life gets very complicated and home keeps calling her back. An awful lot can happen in three years.


“Anyone who has been at university will relate to the experiences here – isolation, friendship, sex, loyalty, heartbreak, happiness, despair. The book is full of honesty and insight, and you never know until the very end who is going to make it and who is going to fall by the wayside.” - Melvin Burgess


“Tense, honest and pacy – exactly the things you'd expect from a David Belbin novel. I couldn't put it down.” - Nicola Monaghan

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 312 KB
  • Print Length: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Five Leaves Publications; 1 edition (12 Sep 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009AEBUBK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #236,458 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars genre bending gem 21 Sep 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Very neatly, I read David Belbin's new novel Student after moving back to my university town, waiting for my second year to start. The cover tells you if you have ever been a student you will relate, it is perfect those who have studied or are just about to study. And while I hope not many students will have quite the experience that Allison does, there are many things that Belbin manages to capture quite articulately. The feeling of being between two places - not only juggling two versions of one's self but also quite literally the travelling between two cities, sharing yourself between two sets of people. One old and comfortable and one not quite fitting yet. And how that might feel if you aren't exactly the typical beer guzzling, one night stand-ing, enthusiastic fresher (although to be fair there is a fair amount of the first two but definitely less of the latter in Allison's case). The pressure of acquiring a set of experiences and of presenting those experiences in a certain way is immense; what Belbin manages to convey so accurately is that for so many now, university is not an experience based only on education or studying but it is about growing up, moving away from home and forming new relationships.

However, it is a page turner so (thankfully) not everyone's time at university will be this fraught with disaster and drama. But it does make for great escapist reading, I read it over one evening in two sittings and couldn't put it down. The book is set over the three years of Allison's degree and paced perfectly from her move to Nottingham to the end of her third year.

Coming from Nottingham myself meant that the book also had another layer of interest.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Although parts of Student orginated as separately published short stories, it's to David Belbin's credit that these elements have been fully revised and re-worked, then woven into a seamless, novel-shaped format. The story is told through the character of Allison, who we follow from her pre-fresher days, through to the end of her final year. Never one to launch herself into the centre of any social scene, Allison emerges as a complex, somewhat awkward character, and it's this character which fuels the narrative, as much as any external events; we are a long way from Belbin's terse, plot-driven crime fiction here, and consequently there's a welcome, insightful focus on the intricacies of human relationships, both romantic and platonic.

Remarkably, what emerges is a novel that will have something to say to school students, university students and graduates alike. For those who have yet to enter into student life, it offers a glimpse of what lies ahead. For those who are already studying, the fates of the main characters can be compared with the experiences that the reader is currently having. And for those who have already graduated, whether recently or long ago, many aspects of this tale are bound to resonate. In particular, Belbin has taken care not to root the action in too specific a timeframe, allowing all age groups to relate to his themes.

As always in a David Belbin novel, characters are permitted to make their own choices, free from overt authorial judgement. Mistakes are inevitably made, both big and small. Some are barely acknowledged, some are learnt from, while others have heart-wrenching consequences - but just as in real life, it's rarely possible to predict what those consequences might be.

This is an absorbing, affecting read, which gives Belbin an opportunity to explore new areas as a writer. Over twenty years in the making, it was well worth the wait.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A new genre? 16 Sep 2012
Format:Paperback
The story is primarily about Allison who goes to study English at the University of Nottingham. She is from West Kirby, a town in the Wirral. With Allison as the narrator, we experience through her eyes, the changes both in Allison and her friends from home and at university, over the period of her three year degree.
This novel would have been in the YA category but for the frank approach to the subjects of sex, drugs and suicide. Neither could it be classed as an adult book, because the style of writing is more suited to a YA audience. This places it in an interesting and unique category relevant to those about to embark on university life.
Not that it is advocating the type of behaviour indulged in by the young people in the novel. However, to avoid mentioning this would be completely unrealistic and their experiences are integral to the narrative that skilfully weaves it way through the complexities of relationships in the adolescents and their gradual adjustments (or not) to the demands of being self-sufficient both physically and emotionally.
Although not the intended audience for this book (as I am now old enough to be the parent of an undergraduate), it still resonated with me. I found myself remembering the long forgotten angst of the constant shift in accommodation and alliances.
The combination of Allison's internal narrative, the extensive dialogue and the sense of serialisation of the chapters, gave the novel the feel of a radio play. This made it possible to cover a great deal of ground with regards to some very tricky subjects and without it feeling heavy handed or hard work to read.
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