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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 1 September 2015
Having read his two previous novels Frictions and Wildlife, I think this is my favourite novel of Stretch's to date. His writing style is, as always, frank and laced with humour and wry observations. Nothing is really censored in this book (and being about the years of puberty and first loves you can take a good guess where a lot of subject matter will lie), but this gives a real sense of honesty and an ability to relate to the main character of Jim, who recounts his childhood and life choices throughout the pages of this book. It reads as a memoir of the character.
For those of my generation (a 90s child), many of the references will be all too familiar and there is a certain nostalgia there- Spice Girls/ Nirvana songs and playing Sonic/ GTA after school anyone? There is a universality to the theme of growing up and adolescence in general though, so I feel that the audience shouldn't be restricted by the fact that this is a novel which is very much set in it's time.
This novel evokes a real sense of what growing up can feel like- it can be salacious, scary, confusing and sweet. The dynamics between the characters are well written and interesting. Jim himself is the child of a could-have-been-a-star mother, who is from a famous acting and singing dynasty and a rather more reclusive father. His navigation through the years and the choices he makes make for an interesting story, particularly as you know snippets of Jim's future from the start and so gradually build up the backstory and see his influences.
It is not a life changing read, but there is a certain nostalgia to it and a real sense that this is life being recounted and is definitely not all rainbows and smiles. This just helps draws you in and makes you like Jim and want to know how he manages to surface from the bubble of his, at times strange, childhood.
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on 9 March 2013
Relevant, of its time and very funny, this book tells the story of the late 20th century and early 21st through the eyes of Jim Thorne and his 'Just about' famous family. From Manchester to London and back again, this book has a wry, deadpan humour that underpins the tale of Jim Thorne as he considers "what does and does not constitute a life". Highly readable, funny and touching, it is filled with historical asides which you may have forgotten. This book is well worth purchasing, especially if these were your formative years and hours were spent in Grand Theft Auto-San Andreas, Sonic and music. Buy it, you won't regret it, and if you do, well, at least the cover looks nice. If its the hardback you could also use it as an improvised bat in an impromptu game of indoor cricket. In other words buy it, read it, enjoy it, its well worth it.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 2 September 2012
Jim Thorne's portrayal by the author Joe Stretch is written in a dry, straight, yet humorous style covering Jim's life from 1989-2009. Jim has talents as a youth that are unfulfilled but life has stagnated since then lacking any direction. As the only boy with a mother and her three sisters he feels dominated, especially as they are all winners and famous in their own ways. Jim is not helped by his father who is absorbed by computer games. Jim's boyhood and adolescence are described in the first person narrative. Friends and early attachments (Dilly the blow-up dolphin), his friends and longing for Kate (who looms throughout his life) that once were are no longer. His thoughts of underachievement are the beginnings of a personal introspection that may be recognisable to many. The emotions become very real and quite deep as the story progresses. This book is a real find and the author's narrative contains wry observations coming across succinctly. Look forward to his fourth novel.
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on 9 August 2012
Through the beautifully lost Jim Thorne Joe Stretch has managed to capture the pains of adolescence and adulthood against the back drop of a narcissistic fame obsessed family. While reading The Adult I was struck by the themes of alienation, isolation and loss but found the first person narrative funny, warm and highly addictive.
A compelling novel of the highest calibre - simply brilliant.
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on 22 March 2014
This author is not of my generation gap but I thoroughly enjoyed his saucy outlook on life. I laughed a lot and even cried when reading this book; I loved his voice and I loved each of the eccentric characters. I purchased The Adult because Joe Stretch was winner of the Somerset Maugham Award 2013 and indeed, it is a well written book. I highly recommended it if you need a good laugh.
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on 18 March 2013
Brimmed full of believable characters and vivid scenes, some of which will remain with you forever. Funny, tragic and memorable.
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on 1 August 2012
For anyone who's ever received one of those born in the eighties emails and smiled in recognition, a beautiful and funny novel that will make you wince with pangs of recognition. Utterly joyous.
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on 29 October 2012
My children are teenagers, I'm in my 40s. This books fills a generation gap for me. It describes the adolescence and 20s of Jim, born in 1982, and narrates the story of his groping towards love and purpose against a backdrop of profoundly trivial details of the tragedies of popular culture. The mid-1990s to the mid-noughties passed me by in a blur of young adult concerns and I never really understood how we got from 1982 to the glossy techno world my children inhabit. I have a much better idea now thanks to Joe Stretch's beautifully written novel which is characterised by understated wit and wry style. Many sentences are one-liners that deserve a page to themselves. If you're in your 30s, read it to remember. If you're not, read it to learn something about your friends and family who are.
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on 5 May 2014
There is something about free conscious streaming in Joes writing that I find brutally honest if sometimes a bit disturbing. I can see how our more open and honest youth readers will really like it
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on 2 June 2016
Possibly my favourite book. Left me with a yearning for something, like great books do. Wonderful stuff, laughed out loud throughout, cried too. Cheers.
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