Customer Reviews


6 Reviews
5 star:
 (3)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a rich inner life
I meant to wait till the paperback was out. Then I read the first paragraph and knew I had to read on. So I bought the hardback and read avidly. The book occupied train journeys, evenings when I should have been doing something else, and days of a seaside holiday.

This isn't a novel about plot but about the way life changes - and the way children are changed...
Published on 13 Aug 2008 by Kathleen Bell

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An endearing protagonist but little else
Kieron Smith provides an account of his life as a young boy (pre teens) living in Glasgow. From a somewhat deprived family, with a narrow minded father and a mother who dreams of better for her sons earning her the label 'snob', and an older brother growing increasingly distant as he tries to study his way out of poverty, Kieron is very much his own person. He has his own...
Published on 21 Jun 2012 by Benjamin


Most Helpful First | Newest First

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a rich inner life, 13 Aug 2008
By 
Kathleen Bell (U.K,) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Kieron Smith, boy (Hardcover)
I meant to wait till the paperback was out. Then I read the first paragraph and knew I had to read on. So I bought the hardback and read avidly. The book occupied train journeys, evenings when I should have been doing something else, and days of a seaside holiday.

This isn't a novel about plot but about the way life changes - and the way children are changed by life. But from that first paragraph I cared about Kieron as an individual human being and I wanted to follow him - so I did. He seemed real in his perceptions, the physical and sensory details of his experiences, and the speech patterns and rhythms which bring his thoughts to life.

In an early essay, James Kelman argued that most of English literature denies the working class - especially working-class Glaswegians - a rich inner life. Kieron's inner life is undoubtedly rich and, as a reader, I mourned every small opportunity that was closed to him.

The novel is in no way political but the sense that children like Kieron are as fully human as other children - and as deserving of opportunities - forces a political response that says a good deal about our society today.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Youthful angst brought to life, 4 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Kieron Smith, boy (Hardcover)
I'm a fan of Kelman's previous work but had no real indication of what to expect from this novel. What grabs the reader first is the canny way Kelman is able to voice the inner thoughts of a young boy, not in the way a grown up would perceive a boy would sound like but what a pre-teen boy actually thinks and feels in real-life, well, in a post-war Glasgow life. That is the other dimension to this novel. Kelman gives you a glimpse into what life was like growing up first, in a traditional Glasgow tenement then moving onto the new 'schemes'. On the one hand, you get a sense of the rich and tight community links in Kieron's old neighbourhood which are then replaced by what feels like a more dispersed community when the family moves into one of the modern flats in the schemes. What is also marvellously illustrated is the underlying sectarianism which sucked in boys as young as Kieron who doesn't obviously appreciate the political dimension, but is only to ready to repeat the 'we will never surrender, never ever, ever, never' chants. Overall it's a beautifully crafted work that lets you inhabit the mind and inner workings, traumas, trials and tribulations of a young boy coming trying to navigate his way into puberty.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Life And Opinions o' Smiddy, 5 Jun 2010
By 
S Wood (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Kieron Smith, boy (Hardcover)
It's not often I agree with the blurb on a books dust jacket, but after reading James Kelmans "Kieron Smith, Boy" I feel that I can enthusiastically endorse the claims made that he is "the greatest British novelist of our times". The hero of the book is one Kieron Smith, younger son of a family who live in the Glasgow (presumably) of the 1950's. It charts his experiences, conflicts and thoughts as related by him, from the age when he is in the middle years of primary school to his early years at secondary.

This is an extraordinary performance on Kelmans behalf; the reader is thrust into the scuffed shoes of Kieron and will find it difficult to take them off, at least voluntarily. The book is utterly absorbing, and as someone who was once a boy himself, though an east coaster rather than a west coaster, and who grew up a few decades later, I found myself constantly back in my own past as well as transfixed by Kierons story. The re-creation of the young boys mentality that Kelman has put into writing is an awesome artistic achievement.

The book is at times melancholy, such as when Kierons granda is enduring his last hospital bound illness, but can often be hilarious such as when Kierons ruminates on religion, principally the differences between "Papes and Proddies", a running theme in his mind, and realistically so given the location of his childhood. The account of life in inner city Glasgow before moving to an out of town scheme, at school, in the tenement flat, at his gran and grandas, his conflicts with his older brother and parents, and those within Kierons head never once struck this reader as anything less than completely real.

Non-Glaswegian readers will be grateful to Kierons mammy, whose constant needling of Kierons pronunciation and nagging in the cause of "proper" English are reflected in Kierons narrative voice. Even swear words are asterisked out, at least until Kieron is away to secondary school.

A short review cant do justice to such a substantial, compulsively and compelling work of fiction. I had thought that Roddy Doyles Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha was the last word in fiction from the point of view of a child, but Kelman has excelled beyond even that high standard in this marvellous novel. Well recommended.
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
3.0 out of 5 stars An endearing protagonist but little else, 21 Jun 2012
By 
Benjamin (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Kieron Smith, boy (Hardcover)
Kieron Smith provides an account of his life as a young boy (pre teens) living in Glasgow. From a somewhat deprived family, with a narrow minded father and a mother who dreams of better for her sons earning her the label 'snob', and an older brother growing increasingly distant as he tries to study his way out of poverty, Kieron is very much his own person. He has his own standards of right and wrong which may not always coincide with what is acceptable, and the basis of his judgement of others often comes down to whether or not they are a good fighter and prove loyal to their pals.

Kieron speaks with the voice of an intelligent but naive young boy, and he speaks not in standard English; his oft repeated expressions some will find quaint and endearing, others may find irritating. He has much to say yet in the end it amounts to very little, and he often repeats himself. He is preoccupied with his fighting abilities, his prowess as a climber and the unfairness of life as he sees it.

The account has no real beginning or end, it simply is, and over the course of its many pages there are no significant happenings, it is just a coverage of the life of a young boy. After my first attempt at reading I put the book down after about 80 pages finding little to hold me, but picking it up again some months later I began to be drawn too Kieron Smith, the boy that is, and it was that along with the way he expresses himself that kept me going to the end, for there was enough there to care about; but there was little else other than the picture Kelman draws of life in the past in deprived areas of Glasgow
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Novel of the year, 31 Aug 2008
This review is from: Kieron Smith, boy (Hardcover)
This is a hugely moving book that tightly grips itself around your heart and mind like a beanstalk animated upwards at a rate of knots. Its vivid period setting gives great texture to the narrative, but the truth of being a boy between the ages of 7 and 12 is what it's all about. It's a marvellous sustained piece of writing and a beautiful work of art. Nothing else to be said.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What's the point?, 5 Nov 2009
By 
Big Pappa (Porto, Portugal) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Kieron Smith, boy (Hardcover)
Why would I want to know every single banal thought of an unremarkable and uninteresting child with an unremarkable and uninteresting life? Maybe this childhood is just too remote (geographically, socially and temporally) from mine to identify with it, but even the child's own "voice" did nothing to me. It contrasts well with J.M. Coetzee's Boyhood and Youth, where a removed and abstract style, in comparison to the allegedly "involving" style of Kieron Smith, touched me far more deeply.

No disrespect to James Kelman, however, very impressive to be able to carry this through, and all in all a worthwhile read. Who knows, maybe you'll identify with the boy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Kieron Smith, boy
Kieron Smith, boy by James Kelman (Hardcover - 24 April 2008)
Used & New from: 0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews