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Urban Grimshaw and The Shed Crew [Kindle Edition]

Bernard Hare
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'Both violently shocking and laugh-out-loud funny, reading somewhere between a pre-teen Trainspotting and a northern-English equivalent of Larry Clark's Kids' -- Big Issue

'Compelling...Moving but never sanctimonious, it is another City of God, this time for Britain rather than Brazil.' -- Oberver, June 1, 2005

‘An extraordinary account of the parallel world of missing children who live under our noses in every inner city’ -- Sunday Times

‘Dark and bitterly . . . both inspiring and uplifting’ -- Daily Telegraph

Book Description

An eye-opening, jaw-dropping account of Britain's dispossessed youth and inner city wastelands by an insider, as funny and inspiring as it is heartbreaking.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 478 KB
  • Print Length: 324 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0340837357
  • Publisher: Sceptre (13 Sept. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005IYIB4U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #182,853 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Introducing the 'Fantasy Non-Fiction' Genre. 23 Feb. 2011
'Urban Grimshaw' is certainly unlike anything I've ever read before, a bizarre mixture of urban reportage, pseudo-mysticism , dodgy pub facts, drunken self-aggrandisement/self pity, misplaced self righteousness, and complete lies. Whether you're left or right wing, you'll find something to annoy you. It's certainly worth reading.

Anyway,questionable ideas in parentheses: Bernard Hare (or 'Chop' as he insists he's known as round the manor) is a disaffected, oft-unemployed drink and drug enthusiast in his mid 30s who's become disaffected because he is not allowed to be a social worker because of a minor criminal record (untrue) Thus he has sworn himself to bring down capitalism' (Though as he spends virtually the entire book drunk or drugged up in his council flat, or engaged in petty theft, it's difficult to understand exactly how this campaigns going)

He befriends glue sniffing oik Urban Grimshaw, a savant who declaims surrealist poetry whilst on the glue (The poetry, in fact, is clearly nicked from the Korova Milkbar scenes in 'A Clockwork Orange') Urban, and apparently all the children of Yorkshire, use glue to commune with the river god Bokono, who Hare later claims is also a god worshipped by Benin tribesmen (Bokononism is, in fact, a fictional religion invented by Kurt Vonnegut in the novel 'Cat's Cradle')

Chop joins Urbans gang of pre-teen delinquents and becomes involved with them over the next few years, managing to tech them to write suspiciously good poetry, (especially considering they're all illiterate) and gets them into Shakespeare and Robert Tressell. (again..
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's grim up north 25 July 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What originally attracted me to this book was that it's a true story, written from first person perspective, about a subject really close to my heart... young people growing up in a tough northern city.

The author, Chop as he is commonly known, describes life in Leeds' East End Park by following the antics of a bunch of out of control kids who live in a shed. As a writer Chop has a down-to-earth style that captures people and places well, however, some of the dialogue feels a bit false with many lines coming across as cheesier than your average soap opera.

I hesitate to say that I was shocked by the book but I think that I was. I wasn't shocked by any of the descriptions of what the kids were getting up to, I was shocked at Chop's own lack of control. As a 'grown up' hanging out with teenagers his fatalistic spiral down into his own degradation and hopelessness is at times quite alarming. Before the end of the book you'll be asking some pretty major questions about how good old Blighty became so grim.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read, questionable narrator 15 Nov. 2012
I can understand why many find 'Urban' to be a disappointing read and take a quick disliking to 'Chop'. Personally i find it to be a fascinating/horrifying insight into a world that will be far removed from many readers. I understand that Hare does not exactly come across as a pleasant individual, but in his defence a lot of the book is self-deprecating, and within the novel itself he never refers to himself as an 'unlikely saviour'. As someone who grew up in Northern England only a few years after the events of the book i must applaud Hare for his realism with regards to the culture and language of the time, even if some of the book, particularly the suspiciously gifted poems and diatribes from the kids, is hard to take at face-value. Personally i find it easiest to enjoy the book if you consider Hare an unreliable narrator; strip back some of the narrative that is obviously self-serving, the ridiculously simplistic politics frequently spouted, and i think you'll find it a satisfying and gripping read. If you take it as at least partly fiction, you can enjoy the ride whilst still gaining some insight into a horrific situation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gipping and immensely readable 26 Sept. 2012
Through the son of an ex partner the author meets and gradually gains the trust of a group of children. The book charts his relationships with them and events in all their lives over a few years against a backdrop of high rise flats and streets of old terraces in inner city Leeds.

The incredibly vivid writing gives the book quite an apocalyptic feel to it at times The children, still quite young at the start live chaotic lives outside society where normal rules don't apply. Their lawless outlook and lack of boundaries is shocking and disturbing. The author himself is no ordinary adult either. Despite a conventional upbringing he is something of a maverick and readers might be surprised at times by how tolerant he is of the children's activities.

This is an extraordinarily well written book and cleverly depicts how hard it is for those on the outside to get in. It is a grim tale that will succeed in leaving readers thinking. I note some people think there is exaggeration in the book. I have lived in this area and sadly there is no exaggeration, just a side of life more fortunate people don't experience.

It is a gripping and immensely readable book and strangely, given the subject matter also very funny in places, containing some of the most witty writing I have ever read. To my knowledge he has not written any books which is a shame.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars love this book
Absolutely loved this book!! Always makes me smile can imagine them been in the places even better when ur from Leeds but a cracking touching book xx
Published 6 months ago by slimmy
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking
A hard hitting, no holds barred novel that had me laughing out loud in places, and willing the characters not to do it at other times. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Michel Mason
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book.
Published 7 months ago by Leanne Marsh
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
One of the best books I have ever read I have read it before and now have it on my kindle so I can read it again anytime
Published 7 months ago by Daniel Fisher
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful story
This is one of my favourite reads. It is an honest and often gut crushing account of the degradation one group of children experience in a so-called first world country. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Rose
3.0 out of 5 stars was ok read
liked it as i could relate to the area. Also went to school with the author.A bit of an eye opener for me.
Published 7 months ago by vilma appleyard
5.0 out of 5 stars good book
bought this after a friend of mine recommended it. have since heard some of it is a bit plagierised from other works but as I lived in leeds for a while I was more interested in... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Dean Guy
4.0 out of 5 stars Grim nostalgia
This is the area I was brought up in. I lived mere doors away from the shed from 1952 to 1973. Things have changed so much for the worse. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Wayne V Bickerdike
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite a shocking but beautiful story
I think everyone should read this book. It is a shocking story, but there is still light at the end of the tunnel. Read more
Published 9 months ago by H. M. K
5.0 out of 5 stars Urban Grimshaw and the Shed Crew by Bernard Hare
This is a wonderful book. Bernard Hare comes as close as anyone will ever come to understanding UK street kids and how badly everyone has let them down. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Clodagh
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