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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Skagboys
I bought this book to take on holiday and immediately had to divide the number of pages by the number of days I had on holiday as I had to ration myself reading it. If I hadn't I would have finished it too quickly and would have had no reading material left! It is ironically addictive: Irvine Welsh does not disappoint on the humour or horror aspects for which he is known...
Published on 23 July 2012 by gillpen

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lots of humour, but pretty bleak
This sad tale of the early days of Renton and co. is as funny as it is depressing. In someways it might be better not to have read Trainspotting, of which this book is the prequel to, as the former gives you too much knowledge of how things will unfold. However it could be argued that knowing the futility of everything that the boys undertake in this novel only serves to...
Published 10 months ago by Jakeisthecoolest


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Skagboys, 23 July 2012
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This review is from: Skagboys (Hardcover)
I bought this book to take on holiday and immediately had to divide the number of pages by the number of days I had on holiday as I had to ration myself reading it. If I hadn't I would have finished it too quickly and would have had no reading material left! It is ironically addictive: Irvine Welsh does not disappoint on the humour or horror aspects for which he is known and loved. I felt that I had the characters on holiday with me and was almost lonely when the book was done. I loved every bit of it and for any Irvine Welsh fans out there, you will not be let down.
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73 of 84 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I make no bones about it, 10 April 2012
This review is from: Skagboys (Paperback)
I enjoyed this book more than any of IW's for about ten years. Like most long novels it has a few dull moments, but overall it's a gripping read: I raced through it. There are two or three spots where IW seems to be straining for a big dramatic or comedic affect, but the power of the book really comes from the slow accretion of telling detail. (Is that what you call realism? I think so.)

A couple of those small details seemed not quite right for the 1980s, as I remember them, but what did seem 100% right was the overall feel of that sad decade. That strikes me as much more important, and I can't remember another novel that evokes working class Scottish life in the 1980s so accurately - well, one or two by James Kelman match it, but JK's are hard to pin down to specific decades, unlike this one.

IW seems to be trying to write a semi-documentary work, and I think he succeeds: it certainly took me back, whether I wanted to be taken back to those painful times or not. I don't think you have to have read Trainspotting to enjoy this: it makes sense in its own right.

Talking of other books, one I would like to read is IW's autobiography. It never occurred to me before, but the parts of this book that seem most personal and autobiographical - and I say SEEM, because I have no way of knowing if they really are - are the most powerful. The beautifully handled scenes in the Fife rehab house, for instance. As I came to the end of those temporarily optimistic pages, and the entirely believable tragedy of the conclusion started to seep in, then build and build, I found myself filled with renewed admiration for the tremendous storytelling skills of IW. And I also found myself, for the first time since Trainspotting, wondering how much of this was real. Because a lot of it felt real.

All the best bits felt real, and the few week spots were where IW strayed from reality. That's how it seemed to me, and if I'm right then IW's autobiography might be his real masterpiece.

If he ever writes such a thing.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful return to form, 28 April 2012
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This review is from: Skagboys (Hardcover)
I had wondered if Irvine Welsh would ever get back to his best. I loved Trainspotting, Acid House, Marabou Stork Nightmares, Porno and a couple of others. But most recently he seems to have become a shadow of his former self. In particular, the awful "Master Chefs" was painful to read - was this really the same author that wrote Trainspotting, or some of the wonderful short stories in the Acid House.

So I bought this book with a sense of trepidation - but I needn't have worried. It's great, I loved every word of it. I was absorbed, back in the eighties with anti-hero Renton and the ever psychotic Francis Begbie. If you've lost faith with IW over the years, this is time to come back to the fold.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lots of humour, but pretty bleak, 23 Jun. 2014
By 
Jakeisthecoolest "Jake" - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This sad tale of the early days of Renton and co. is as funny as it is depressing. In someways it might be better not to have read Trainspotting, of which this book is the prequel to, as the former gives you too much knowledge of how things will unfold. However it could be argued that knowing the futility of everything that the boys undertake in this novel only serves to underscore the depressing nature and hopelessness that so many people endured throughout the Thatcher years. I mention Thatcher because perhaps more than any of his other novels this book is almost a historical chronical of how so many fell so far, and not just in Edinburgh. Each of the beautifully written scenes are littered with laugh out load moments, but the overall humour is bittersweet.
The other issue I have with the novel is that the characters do not quite feel ready, and in fact that is the point, they are not. Not until Trainspotting will we see them implode, find redemption or risk it all, and as such the narrative is unfocused and the novel feels like a very long Prologue. Like the Trainspotting sequel Porno, this is a great edition to the IW universe, and well worth reading, but only really serves to remind us just how good Trainspotting is.
Lastly, as others have mentioned, it is a little long and self indulgent at times.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A five star read, 28 May 2012
This review is from: Skagboys (Hardcover)
Skagboys is a worthy prequel in the 'Trainspotting' trilogy and a five star read. In the novel the exploits of its now famous four characters (Rents, Sick Boy, Spud and Begbie) come of age in the Thatcherite dystopia of early 1980s working class Edinburgh. Welsh's characters face a world of tough choices, unemployment, drugs and generational poverty with a headlong rage that is the authors trademark. The hardback books hefty 548 pages highlights the family friends and developing `love interests' of the principal characters as they move, mate and scheme from the Port of Leith and into the wider world. Skagboys is vintage Welsh, with some of the best characterisation to date of his anti heroes at work rest and play. The novel is at times sad, bad, hilarious and profound with imagery and dialogue that's pure catnip to the converted/perverted Welsh reader.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Skagbays, 14 July 2013
This review is from: Skagboys (Paperback)
Bought this in Gatwick airport coming home after a university interview. I picked it at random as my dad wanted to take advantage of the buy one get one half price deal. Similarly to the majority I heard of Irvine through the spectacular film by Danny Boyle. My previous attempts to indulge in the "Trainspotting" novel were disastrous. I would pick it up in a bookstore and read the first line, "the sweat wis lashing oafay Sickboy" and it felt like my eyes were bleeding. It was all a blur; I quickly gave up. I digress. But I grabbed this book due to idle interest, I am so glad I did. I have now read both, "Skagboys" and, "Trainspotting" and contrary to common belief; I thought the later was far superior. I first read the scrawled handwritten introduction on the plane, slowly getting a hold of the bizarre letters fronting me. I then got home and left the book on my floor for about a month. I picked it up every once in a while but just tossed it into the infinite pile of clothes in the corner abyss of my room. It frustrated and bored me. Then i watched, "trainspotting" again. I wanted to learn more about the malevolent, brilliant antihero Mark Renton. The book, once i seriously got into it, did not disappoint. It does start slow, but keep with it and it unleashes wonders of brilliant characterization. Irvine allows one to delve to personally with his fictitious creations that they begin to become real. You open the book pondering how your poor friend, "Rents" will get through the day, or what unfortunate Begbie might "chib" today. The narrative is beautifully woven and the digressions unto other characters are not overwhelming and do not hinder the story (unlike, in my believe the constant sporadic, non-sequitar leaps of "Trainspotting" which I began to find annoying). The story will have you tear-jerking one moment and pissing with laughter the next; its long, but worth it. Impossible to put down; In school i actually didn't want to leave the inferno of private study as i was so consumed in this book. I read 80 pages a day on average, and whats-more this book sparked the Resurrection of my love of reading, that slowly burned out months before. Irvine welsh's language is just beautiful, sophisticated and earthy. A mixture of intellectual with scumbag. Street colloquialism mixed with educated language. Their are many beautiful aspects of this novel; it has become one of my favorites, perhaps it is my favorite. I would highly recommend it and am heartbroken that it will permanently live under the shadow of its elder brother; even though the superiority of the elder, is in my view, very questionable..
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5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Trainspotting ?, 26 May 2013
By 
E. Hunter (uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Skagboys (Paperback)
This is a fantastic read,This is a prequel to Trainspotting,about three years before the events of that book,there are some new characters introduced and other's like Matty are given more insight than in Trainspotting.This book really stands for itself which is saying alot as Trainspotting is quite simply a masterpiece.It shows them just before they got into heroin and their eventual downward spiral into the abyss of addiction.It is s VERY grim book to say the least,it's hard hitting in places just like Trainspotting,especially the part about Marie Anderson and Sick Boy,I won't give anything away but it is TRULY awful.And then there is Renton,he has it all,good-looking,smart and just going to university,meets a beautiful girl and then f**** it all up.Turns to the skag and it's all downhill from there,Begbie is still as much a psycho as ever and there is one chapter that shows just how morally bankrupt he truly is and of course there's Spud.By far the nicest one of them all but also has the most rotten luck,gets laid off after being on a job he likes since school and turns to the smack.There are also other minor characters in the narrative like Alison and a new character called Nicksy an english geezer who is quite interesting.A very grim book telling the harsh realities of living in the Thatcher era especially if you were poor and living in the "Schemes",the epidemic notes showing the aids casualties is quite shocking.But it still has the humour that Trainspotting had and I couldn't move for laughing at some of the parts in the book.I honestly couldn't say which book is better,they are both superb and they both could read as one book.5 stars.
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3.0 out of 5 stars tierd rehash, 2 Aug. 2014
same old, same old and not in same class as trainspotting or even porno. some situations virtually identical to trainspotting.
renton an unbelievable and unbelievably pretenious and irratating character.do people really go around quoting philosophers? not anyone i've ever met. it is possibly deliberately there to highlight a point but didn't work for me.
the attempted social comment didn't really work either unfortunately, though putting context was a good idea.
there are also too many characters,some who serve no purpose and lead to dull chapters,cul de sac plotlines and result in virtually every character having a connection in some way to renton.the book though wouldn't have missed nicksy, russel birch and miranda (i think that was her name,that's how memorable she was), if they had never existed.
particularly grating is the use of modern terminology in 1984, brazilian meant someone from brazil in the 80's.there were others too throughout.
it being an irvine welsh novel there are great parts and outstanding and funny dialogue,"ye don't cut off yir cock te spite yir baws" always does and always will make me laugh.
it could never be or have the impact of trainspotting,i still remember being enthralled and astounded by it as student in the early.sadly at times skagboys reads like poor mans irvine welsh. that said i'm hoping for sequel to porno that would be barry.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh Lordy, he's baaaack!, 1 May 2012
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This review is from: Skagboys (Hardcover)
Just when I thought I had read everything he could throw at me and not be shocked, horrified or want to run and hide. I am halfway through Skag and have just gasped out loud, put the book down and had to have a quiet minute to myself. I truly loathe Sick Boy in this book and if and when you do get mid way and read what I have just read, you will too. IW is a writing genious, capable of bringing you to the lowest depths of misery within his pages... and then it gets worse.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you liked Trainspotting you will love this!, 11 Jun. 2012
By 
Ms. Ml Cane (Uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Skagboys (Hardcover)
Like many others, I was expecting this prequel to Trainspotting to be a disappointment in comparison to the 1993 novel. I was pleasantly surprised. Having read Trainspotting 15 years ago I have since attempted to read several Welsh novels but they have never matched up to Trainspotting for me. I thought Skagboys would be the same but like Trainspotting, it gripped me from the start.

It was exciting to dip back in to the characters' lives but in a way that shed so much light on the original novel. None of the honestly or deprivation or humour is lost here.In fact, I would go as far as to say that it is the better of the two novels. The writing is engrossing and the insight in to the characters' speedy decline into heroin addiction feels plausable and highlights the impact of Thatcher's government on the 'underclass'.

The end of the novel sums up addiction perfectly and poetically. In my opinion, Welsh gave me exactly what I wanted. For example, there were many times I was thinking - I'd like to know what happened with this, or I need to know the outcome of this scenario and I always got what I wanted! Even the end of the book made total sense which is a real talent since many novels I have read can end in a frustrating anti-climax.

I loved reading this novel and I am now re-reading Trainspotting as I can't get enough!!
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Skagboys
Skagboys by Irvine Welsh (Paperback - 11 April 2013)
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