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4.0 out of 5 stars Just the crowd, or people?, 22 Dec 2008
By 
Raymond Mathiesen (Armidale, N.S.W., Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Play Nimrod for Him (Red Fox young adult books) (Paperback)
Christopher and Nick are friends and have been since their early years at high school. Now they are both sixteen and considered "young men" at Astley, the English, private-boy's-school they both attend. There is nothing wrong with friendship, but Nick is Christopher's only friend and vice versa. They have cut themselves off from the rest of humankind, living in their own 'superior' world of classical music, creative writing and role-play as Gut and Oliver, their adult alter ego's. Then one day, while Nick is away holidaying in Europe, Christopher meets Sal, a distant relative who is forward, vivacious and popular. Sal "makes a bee line" to Christopher and without even thinking about it he soon finds that she is his girlfriend. Sal tempts Christopher away from the small world he has been living in, and he finds that in some ways he is happy to go with her. But Nick returns and soon the lies, jealousies and painful rifts begin. Nick, it seems, will never adjust to Sal's presence.

This is a psychological, agoraphobic, and tense novel about intelligence, creativity and aloneness. As Christopher in the novel points out, many geniuses, such as the Bronte sisters, have led isolated and creative lives as children, making up their own imaginary worlds. But when is aloneness healthy and when is it 'sickness'?

This book is well written. Despite the 'smallness' of the situation described the book never becomes boring or repetitive. Christopher's character change is completely natural and believable, as is Nick's stalled isolation and Sal's friendliness. These characters do not strike us as false. The role-play as Guy and Oliver, however, remains a bit of a mystery throughout the whole novel and I wonder why it was never directly represented? This is chiefly a boy's book, but many girls will also find it interesting.
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Play Nimrod for Him (Red Fox young adult books)
Play Nimrod for Him (Red Fox young adult books) by Jean Ure (Paperback - 16 Jan 1992)
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