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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Morrissey should be buying the film rights...
...if he hasn't already!
This is a fantastic novel. I was dubious at first as one of the reviews I read compared it to Adrian Mole - roughly equivalent to comparing a creme egg to a Faberge. Simply put it is the story of the "strange" kid at school, the one who wore white socks and a parka and smelled faintly of TCP . Raymond is a lyrical and literal genius, a...
Published on 28 April 2005 by pinkywafer

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not brilliant
I should have loved this, the setting of working class Manchester and the music of Moz are right up my street(literally) but it never really gripped me;I ploughed through it in the hope it would spark into life but it didnt.
The comedy just wasnt funny enough and the characters were too one dimensional sit com northern(1960's style). The main character was more...
Published on 8 Jun 2010 by pureunited


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Morrissey should be buying the film rights..., 28 April 2005
This review is from: The Wrong Boy (Paperback)
...if he hasn't already!
This is a fantastic novel. I was dubious at first as one of the reviews I read compared it to Adrian Mole - roughly equivalent to comparing a creme egg to a Faberge. Simply put it is the story of the "strange" kid at school, the one who wore white socks and a parka and smelled faintly of TCP . Raymond is a lyrical and literal genius, a weirdo extraordinaire, and a victim of circumstance of the unluckiest kind and his grim sense of humour and introspection see him through some very unfortunate events. His nihilistic granny, B!stard Uncle and hilariously sympathetic best friends really deserve to be discovered and I can't help thinking this would make an even better film than Shirley V. So good I can even forgive the slightly clunky coincidence that wraps it all up.
One of the best books I've read in years. If you like character based novels with a dark sense of humour and a little bit of spirit, this is definitely for you.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolutely superb book, 31 Jan 2004
By 
Paul Mitchell-Gears (BogotŠ, Colombia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Wrong Boy (Paperback)
I read this book last year, and it moved me more than nearly any book I can call to mind. Two particular scenes stood out for me, though I won't mention which ones: those who've read it will know! One brought tears to my eyes, the other had me unstoppably laughing out loud in a crowded train. I'm not the sort of person to get such strong emotional reactions from books: well, I never had until then.
I just wanted to post a review because I couldn't believe the overall ranking was only 4/5. Looking in more detail, this doesn't tell quite the whole story: almost everyone seemed to love it as much as me, there are just a couple of 1/5 people pulling down the average. I'm sorry they didn't enjoy it, but to the reader who said:
> I have to say that if he were real I would have liked to
> have killed him and most certainly at my school he wouldn't
> have survived.
I can only reply, yes, probably, and that is why I felt such a wonderful pathos for him. Thank God I didn't go to your school.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Skilful and moving portrait of a boy's descent into madness, 9 Dec 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Wrong Boy (Paperback)
Russell's novel is told through the central character's reactions to a chain of events and coincidences that are so unfortunate and so excruciatingly catastrophic that they result in severe mental breakdown. Raymond Marks is a gifted boy, imaginitive and articulate, but is let down badly by the adults who have control over his life. Russell's well-paced and moving account of Raymond's descent into madness, as his world fractures around him time and again, is drawn with extreme skill and insight. It is a heart-rending portrayal but the novel also has its fair share of laughs and is ultimately uplifting. Try listening to the Smiths while you read to get you in the right frame of mind for Raymond's story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars :-), 25 Jun 2003
By 
I. J. Mclachlan "i_mclachlan" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Wrong Boy (Paperback)
excellent understanding of child psychology and some memorable characters here, including a granny at war with the frivolity of the age who makes the reader want to cheer every time she speaks her mind. the novel’s chatty style disguises the considerable skill that has gone into the writing of it. Russell is wonderfully good at repartee, and has an excellent ear for dialogue, with only the American voice at the end of the novel striking a slightly hollow note.
overall, the work is didactic, and passionately so, i think: The Wrong Boy is a demand for tolerance and understanding in an intolerant, bigoted world. but Russell’s touch is so light that i never felt like i was being bludgeoned with his idealism, and only at one point (Twinky’s encomium to fat ladies) did i sense the author becoming slightly heavy-handed.
i suppose one might put up a charge of misanthropy against Russell, for, though the central character bears his misfortunes with a stoical grace, so many of the characters suffer from such a catalogue of failings that one can’t help wondering if the author’s view of people and society in general (or perhaps just English people/society?) isn’t deeply pessimistic. with a few exceptions, the adults in the book are morally dubious or deviant, brittle, easily led, self-important, self-centred, cowardly, and incompetent in their working lives. and, in the end, it is an enlightened foreigner who provides a place of refuge for the central character. such misanthropy makes for a great cast of baddies though!
in fine, a potent piece of writing full of agonising and humorous moments.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the mediocre, 30 Dec 2001
This review is from: The Wrong Boy (Paperback)
Anyone who has ever been considered unusual or extraordinary will love this story of a boy who convinces himself that he is literally "The Wrong Boy".
I found myself beginning to wonder whether he would try to fit in anyway, or revolt against the "norm". With his mother and grandmother each pulling him in different directions, he takes us through a literal and figurative journey which enlightens both him and the reader simultaneously.
At times, I felt almost embarrassed at being allowed to read his private thoughts, as though I'd accidentally discovered my own son's diary or private love letters. At other times it felt like I was in a theatre with all the book's other readers, cheering him on and giving a standing ovation to his grandmother.
At no point did the story slow down for me, and I could have happily read a sequel as soon as I put it down. I have never read a novel in such a short time.
If you have always had an ordinary life with the usual things happening to you in the most normal ways, don't even bother opening the cover. For the rest of us, whose lives are filled with the unexpected, both happy and tragic, and who do not see ourselves as being average, please read about Raymond Marks and laugh with him and us, at him and us.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving book that will stay in your memory for a long time, 15 Oct 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Wrong Boy (Paperback)
I actually read this book a couple of years ago but it made such an impact on me that I felt I should share my views. It is interesting reading the other reviews as it is almost as though I were reading reviews of a different book and I think that highlights one of the things that is so special about this book. It is different things to different people which is probably a reflection on our own childhoods and school years.
I felt so moved by this book and the injustice the main character suffered, however Russell still manages to fill the pages with examples of his humour and if you choose to read only one book that doesn't come with a bright lurid cover or a fluffy meaningless picture then make it this one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Willy Russell's 'The Wrong Boy', 5 Sep 2002
This review is from: The Wrong Boy (Audio Cassette)
I found my copy of 'The Wrong Boy' hidden under a box on a rainy, miserable trip to the market. I'm sure my luck was in that day as I knew I'd love the book just as soon as I picked it up.
For once - I wasn't wrong.
If ever a book made a reader scream with laughter and cry with sadness, then the Wrong Boy is first in line for an award. I was up until 4am in the morning reading this book because I couldn't put it down. The plot is unbreakable - its impossible to find a point in the story where you feel you can take a break from reading. You want to read more and more until you turn the last page. The story is entirely made up of chillingly real emotions put into words by a true literary genious.
If you like to read a novel that you can feel some familiarity with, then this is the book for you. Even if you're nothing like Raymond Marks, Twinky McDervitt or the unfortunate wasp which lit the dynamite for the explosion of events in Raymond's life, you're sure to find something in this book that you can identify with.
If The Wrong Boy doesn't make you smile or feel a tinge of sadness, no book ever will.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful and thoughtful book, 3 Aug 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: The Wrong Boy (Paperback)
I hate comedy but listened to a review of this on the World Service. It lay on my bookshelf for 2 months but when I started reading it I couldn't stop. Sad and funny in equal measure I loved so many of the characters especially Twinky. I have given several copies as presents and every one I have given it to has loved it. One of the best books I have read in years, BUY IT!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Page Turner, 24 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Wrong Boy (Paperback)
This is my best buy of the year so far. Tears, belly laughs and a gasp at the end. This book, in my opinion, has wide appeal. It is hard to believe this is just fiction - maybe there is a touch of the autobiographical there, who knows! I enjoyed it from beginning to end. The story was easy to follow, light hearted in places and downright heart-wrenching in others. We are treated to the ups and downs of a small lonely boy led down a terrible road by a politically correct Headmaster. Before this, Raymond, our Hero is an average happy boy. He is soon spiralling out of control and taking us on the journey with him. If you only read one book a year while lying on the beach, choose this, trust me, you won't be disappointed.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wrong Boy But Right Author, 3 Mar 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Wrong Boy (Paperback)
This is playwright Willy Russell's first published novel - hopefully there are more to follow. Rarely does a first novel pulse with such vivacity and cover such a spectrum of emotions; more seldom still is the result so unputdownable and so utterly enjoyable that its echoes can still be heard by the reader weeks after he has completed the book.
Russell's narrator, Raymond Marks, takes us on a voyage of discovery from Manchester to Grimsby in the form of a series of letters written to his hero, Stephen Morrissey. This journey takes some lengthy detours via Raymond's childhood memories and the catalogue of disasters which appear to have made up his entire, short life; it is a journey of memory as well as of experience, of the agony of failure as well as the ecstacy of success. At times Russell takes us down to the gutter with the despair suffered by his characters, at others we are riding with the stars - like a Smiths' song the depression is usually tongue in cheek - or should that be hand in glove - with a silver lining waiting at the turn of a page.
Russell's characters, as in his plays, are larger than life and three times as amusing for it. Raymond paints the portraits with a savage, almost manic, eye for detail and his rollcall of anecdotes is the stuff of great monologues; the seemingly plotless narrative is more than compensated for by Russell's expert stage management and gifted dialogue. If Joyce was alive today this is the sort of book he'd be writing!
To sum up, The Wrong Boy is the ideal read for those interested in eighties music, Manchester, Grimsby, Country and Western, nativity plays, poetry or...life itself.
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The Wrong Boy
The Wrong Boy by Willy Russell (Paperback - 1 July 2001)
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