Customer Reviews


8 Reviews
5 star:
 (5)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
Most Helpful First | Newest First

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bad Influence, Good Read, 27 Aug. 2004
This review is from: Bad Influence (Paperback)
This is the first William Sutcliffe book I have read and what drew me to it was the front cover or, more specifically, the expression on the boy's face pictured on the cover: young, but not at all innocent, chilling even. And indeed Bad Influence is a truly chilling book, though initially it begins in a very humourous vein and I honestly can't remember having laughed out loud so much while reading a book.

Sutcliffe introduces us to Ben, the main character. Ben is ten and Sutcliffe's portrayal of Ben's life, emotions and actions are amazingly accurate. The humour in this book comes from the fact that we can all identify with Ben and what is was like to be ten and think the thoughts of a ten year old. One example being where Ben describes his best friend being taken away as like someone "confiscating your legs", followed by the admission "It's not really like that. If someone pulled off your legs, you'd bleed to death." Many of the initial anecdotes ring so true; many of them, particulary regarding Ben's siblings, actually happened to me!
But Sutcliffe doesn't only capture the funny side of being ten, he also portrays a realistic picture of the chilling side too. I doubt any reader will fail to identify with the peer pressure Sutcliffe so honestly and brutally subjects his main character to. The need to fit in, the need to be the best friend, the jealousy, the pride, the pain of rejection, the lengths children will go to to be accepted. Bad Influence has it all, and while the majority of readers won't have gone to the extremes of the main characters in this book, I believe that every reader will have experienced each and every emotion within Bad Influence.
This is a powerful book, delightful, humourous, touching, brutal and ultimately shocking. Never before have I felt that a writer has so accurately stepped into the shoes of a child's mind and heart. Buy this book - you won't regret it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Latest William Sutcliffe masterpiece, 19 April 2004
By 
James Powell (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bad Influence (Paperback)
Following on from his previous successes, this book - to my mind - stands out as William Sutcliffe's best yet. The kid who tells the story here - Ben - starts hanging around with a bad kid called Carl. He doesn't like Carl, but his best friend Olly does, so in an effort to fit in he does what Carl says. Although when things go too far he decides to drop Olly as a friend, the loneliness of his social isolation soon has him scampering back to fit in. However, under Carl's control, things begin to escalate out of control.
Sutcliffe narrates the story brilliantly from a 10 year olds perspective and - particularly early on - there are some very funny bits (Ben's diagrans in particular). But the main strength of the book is how it puts into perspective a lot of the media coverage we consume that concentrates on evil children. It shows how a normal good kid can, under the control of a genuine little horror, quite easily end up doing unspeakable things.
My only regret is that William Sutcliffe does not write more prolifically, as he is very talented at his genre.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Read., 8 Sept. 2005
This review is from: Bad Influence (Paperback)
I first read Are You Experienced and it was the first book to actually make me laugh aloud. After reading his other books I read his latest, Bad Influence, and it's the second book to have me laughing. It's so accurate and well written and funny I couldn't put it down and Ben is a great character. Thoroughly enjoyable, I can't wait to see what William comes up with next!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant look at peer pressure., 24 Jun. 2004
This review is from: Bad Influence (Paperback)
William Sutcliffe has done it once more, with a cracking read about childhood identity. He lets us back into a world we've left behind and reminds us of those irrational fears that we may become social outcasts if we don't keep up with the pack - however dangerous the ground they are walking becomes. This book starts as funny and ends as chilling, but is always well paced and brilliantly written. For an equally skilled, but very different, take on peer-pressure and child crime, read Jonathan Trigell's Boy A. Well done again to Sutcliffe.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever and funny, 21 April 2004
This review is from: Bad Influence (Paperback)
I found this book very entertaining and also touching. It convincinglyconveys the complicated feelings that I remember as a pre-teen boy whenthe world of my friends, and that of my family collided, smashing mebetween them. The way the hero, Ben, provokes his elder sister and hiselder brother are delightfully funny and true to life. But the bookoffers much more than just humour. There is, for example, the agonisingstress of the ordeal that Ben allows himself to be submitted to in orderto prove that he is no coward. What makes young males everywhere, fromnorth London to west Baghdad, incline to the moral standards of theirpeers rather than those of their parents? This book gives some insightinto the reasons. Read, enjoy, and get some new understanding of howyoung boys function!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bad boys, 18 Sept. 2009
By 
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bad Influence (Paperback)
I tested this book out on a 14-year-old boy, who pronounced it "Not bad," - though he also said that the `bad' character, Carl, would not have committed the crime that happens at the end of the book, since he was intelligent enough to know that he would be caught.

I agree with him about that, but at the same time I was entranced by this story of three boys, two of them coming to the end of their last year in primary school, the other, Carl, older, twelve or thirteen and at a specialist Unit, for, we presume, children with behavioural and/or emotional problems. Carl opens up the cosy suburban world for the other two, Ben and Olly, introducing them to smoking, stealing and a general lawlessness that immediately sets Ben's family against him.

Ben is lucky in having a Mum, a Dad, a sister and brother, especially a brother, Donny, who is 17 and knows the kind of problems Ben is going through. Olly perhaps forges a closer bond with Carl because both are only children.

Sutcliffe brings this scenario alive, touchingly and evocatively in this sad story. If there is a touch of tendentiousness in its `moral in the tale' ending, that can, I think, be forgiven, especially when weighed against the realism and understanding Sutcliffe brings to the boys' world.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars First Class. Funny, menacing and poignant, 11 Oct. 2010
By 
Sir Furboy (Aberystwyth, UK) - See all my reviews
I was looking for an audiobook to listen to on a long car journey and selected this one, largely because it was good value for money, and I did not have time to search longer. This has to count as one of my most successful impulse buys ever. The story was first rate, and the narration on the audio book was just right for it too.

First the book (as this review should show up for paper versions too).

Ben and Olly are two typical 10 year old boys. Ben is the book's narrator, and the way the author captures the 10 year old voice is just perfect. I found myself grinning at descriptions, and frequently thrust back into my own childhood, remembering exactly how it felt to be 10 years old. It reminded me of Tom Kelly's excellent "Finn's Going"/"All About Finn" in the way it evoked that sense of childhood so perfectly. The setting is north London, in (based on the mention of drainpipe trousers) the mid to late 1970s. The actual year is never actually mentioned and is, in fact, immaterial to this timeless story of the joys and perils of childhood.

The boy's friendship comes under strain though with the arrival of a new boy in the neighbourhood. Carl is a little older than Ben and Olly, but not much. But after threatening Ben's father with a chainsaw, Ben's opinion that he is a nutter is nicely understated. But as so often happens in real life, Carl somehow starts to muscle in on the friendship of Ben and Olly, and the consequences are painful and menacing, leaving the reader worried about where this will all end.

The comic elements nicely set off the darker themes of the book. Ultimately it is a wonderful study of the perils of peer pressure, and the emotional attachments of children and young people. It rang so very true. Fortunately things rarely go quite as far as in this story, but we know that they can, and sometimes have gone this way. The book leaves the reader with plenty to ponder.

And so the audio narration. The audio book uses a female voice for the narration, but the narrator does her voices very well indeed, and you could almost think it was Ben's voice that you are hearing. This was a professionally put together audio book, so no problems with it, and I think the narrator was well chosen.

Whether you read this on paper, ebook or audio, you will not regret it. Highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars highly original, 2 Aug. 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Bad Influence (Paperback)
A quick, engrossing read - VERY different to his previous books but still highly wothwhile. Original and fscinating - horribly believable as you follow the chain of events to their surprising conclusion.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Bad Influence
Bad Influence by William Sutcliffe (Paperback - 25 Mar. 2004)
Used & New from: £0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews