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The Madolescents [Paperback]

Chrissie Glazebrook
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Mar 2002
Living in a Newcastle suburb on a steady diet of Bailey's and chips, Rowena Vincent fantasizes about her absent father and the elimination of her mother's new boyfriend. When it becomes obvious she is losing her grip on reality, she is packed off to a teenage therapy group. Meet the Madolescents.

Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd; New edition edition (7 Mar 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099410923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099410928
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 13 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 902,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

The heroine of Chrissie Glazebrook's debut novel, The Madolescents, is a 16-year-old misfit called Rowena, living with her mum and her mum's mega-gross lover Filthy Luker in poorish urban northern England. It is, in Rowena's inimitable voice (effortlessly and splendidly captured by Glazebrook), a situation fit to send anyone "friggin mentally ill", and it duly tips the already nervy, highly-strung adolescent into a genuine bid for lunacy. As a consequence she is then stabled among a bunch of other maladjusted youngsters for the purposes of group therapy--the Madolescents of the title.

What happens to and between the Madolescents is the ostensible subject of this book, and Glazebrook sketches their doings neatly. But it's really the cynical, robust, fragile, sassy character of Rowena herself that shines through and makes the novel work. For in all her tacky teen heroism and self-loathing loveliness she is nothing less than a Catcher in the Rye in black nail varnish and flip flops.

"The spot on my chin's grown into a huge bubo because I tried to squeeze it before it had a proper head!".
"I AM ROWENA. WARRIOR PRINCESS. I am invincible. I think my period's started".
"I heard this squelchy noise coming from Mum's bedroom, it sounded like baby Maggie from The Simpsons sucking her dummy. It was them--doing it!".
These three quotes from a possible infinitude give a good idea of what this novel's like: funny, acerbic, vulgar, smart, likeable, earthy and winningly demotic. --Sean Thomas --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

Madness, morticians and a large portion of chips. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and entertaining. 10 Aug 2002
By A Customer
This is a wonderful comic novel, brilliantly written and laugh-out-loud funny in places. I recommend it wholeheartedly, even though it's not the sort of thing I'd usually read.
The narrator is a sixteen-year old girl, and though I am sure that young people would love the book, it is an adult book, don't worry about that. There is stuff in it about funeral parlours, drug-taking, transvestism, mental illness, shoplifting and vandalism, so it's hardly mainstream. Perhaps that's why a couple of reviewers here didn't like it. But if Glazebrook wanted to write a best seller, she could do so tomorrow, in my opinion, because the story has pace and vivid characters and leaps off the page. Only a gifted writer can make a book do that.
I suppose that the Madolescents is in the tradition of the working-class, slangy, dialect novel, but it's far the best of that genre that I have read. There are more Geordie slang words per page than you'd hear up Bigg Market, but they didn't hold me up (and I am from Cornwall). And bouncing around among the slang are metaphors and similes to die for. Boy, can this author write visually - it's a rare gift:
"[He] makes a steeple with his hands. They're white and wrinkly, like tripe."
"Ash unbuttons his shirt and slips it off, revealing a goldy brown body, totally smooth and hairless, with copper-coloured nipples like rivets on 501s."
and aurally:
"Filthy's snoring like an elephant with catarrh."
It's a joy to find a writer who can knock off lines like that. And she does it on every page.
What's really wonderful and surprising is that the Madolescents, unlike most "working-class" novels, is never depressing (not to me, anyway), despite the in-your-face subject matter. In that respect Glazebrook reminds me of Steven Berkoff - the grosser Berkoff gets, the funnier he is: same with Glazebrook.
This is an absolute gem, this book. Don't hesitate.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
It's the voice and sardonic first-person observations that give this anarchic black comedy it's irresistible ticklish quality - while quite dreadful things are happening. Laugh out loud novels of this quality are far too few and far between..Meanwhile, us in the regions, provinces and other countries are looking forward to reading the sequel and seeing the film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A darkly comic side to life 9 Aug 2002
I read this book in a day and a half, try as I might I couldn't put it down!! It's a very darkly comic tale, if slightly predictable, although I was slightly disappointed at the ending, it was a thoroughly enjoyable read.
Great when you're looking for a read that's entertaining but not too taxing
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Earthy, darkly comic. cleverly written, 23 April 2001
By A Customer
This is a rare novel which which has appeals for older people and teenagers. The anarchy, the insight into chaotic lives, the sharp writing, the flowing pace make the novel accessible without being trite. In 'Rowena', Glazebook has invented a very special character who has wings and should live beyond this novel. I lent my copy to two fifteen yearolds who consumed it almost in one gulp and asked where was the next one? On a serious note, without 'writing down' or being unneccessarily sociological, this novel validates lives which normally go unrecorded. Perhaps most important, it made me laugh out loud. The film should be a treat.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I bought this for my teenage daughter and ended up reading it as well. I highly reccommend this to fathers and daughters alike. The dialogue is amazing, sharp, poignent and full of that bizare insight into human nature that great writers posses.
I want to read more work by Chrissie Glazerbrook.
Here we have a book about charactors based in Newcastle, and the writing stlye is refreshing different.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Madolescents first appeared as a short story in the much accliamed Printers Devil publication. It was then a gruesomely funny story of a teenage mortuary assistant, failed by education and desperately seeking to make her way as a beautician. Rowena more than justified the novel. The characterisation is superb.Everyone will know a Rowena. Watch out for the Film.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you like Skins, you'll love this! 15 April 2008
It has been a good few years since I read The Madolescents but it is a book that has always shone in my mind. Whenever anybody asks me to recommend a good book, it's one that comes slipping out very often.

The Madolescents was happening when the Skins crew were in Primary School before they discovered drugs and sex. This got me to thinking: why hasn't anybody written a play or film based on this fantastic book?!

Rowena is a modern-day, vulgar, low-standards version of Cassandra Mortmain of I Caputre the Castle: witty, in her own world, head strong. I am glad I read this book. I look forward to reading it again. I recommend it to anyone who is not easily offended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous book - very funny! 2 Mar 2005
This is my favourite book of all time. It is a glorious account of the life of Rowena, a 16 year old as she encounters and battles her way through life's problems. Her hobbies include eating brown sauce sarnies, shop lifting and trying to physically harm her awful step-father. Along the way she joins a therapy group for teenagers (madolescents) and we see how her relationships with them develop.
Without giving much away, the ending is hilartious, surreal and poignant at the same time. You find yourself caught up in this plausible world where very odd things happen. This is an incredibly funny book, the kind of book that you wish would never end, the kind of book that you reread more than once. I love it!
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