Top positive review
So relatable to a 90s child- and a frank, honest depiction of adolescence.
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.