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4.3 out of 5 stars37
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 12 October 2009
I am not well-read enough to know whether or not this book is a rip-off of another title, nor am I a literary fiend who is able to dissect the quality of the writing/editing.

However, I thought this book was fantastic. Anyone who works or has worked as a 20-something male in a big city firm will surely relate to many of the thoughts and troubles in this book. So many points, especially early in the book, had me thinking "I know exactly what that's like", or "I thought it was just me that felt like this".

Some of the reviews have said that the story loses it's charm a little towards the end, and I am inclined to agree. However, I think this might just be bitterness that my life remains a parallel to the early Jack Lancaster rather than the later one!

I read this book when I was on holiday and got through it in a couple of days. I'm normally not much of a reader but I always looked forward to picking this up, and had trouble putting it down.

I doubt this book is for you if you can't relate to Jack Lancaster in some way, nor will it go down as a literary classic, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it highly amusing throughout.
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on 5 April 2009
A real, witty romp of a book that makes you laugh, cry and cringe. It's hero, Jack Lancaster, disillusioned by a 6-figure salary and life in the city, sets about finding his life's real purpose with funny friends, hilarious consequences, and a deliciously self-deprecating sense of humour. Sheer entertainment over literary prowess, but nicely life-affirming all the same. Loved it.
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on 2 April 2007
I'm a young professional, 23, living in London and was given the book by a friend I met at university. She told me I might be able to use it for inspiration - and when I read it I completely fell in love with the character of Jack Lancaster. In fact, I liked the book so much I felt compelled to write a review of it.

From the first few pages where he stops to re-evaluate his life "Yes: I'm a tosspot" to his heartbreakingly hilarious semi-breakdown and drunken resignation from his high-paid city job, through to his ultimate redemption after a tragic turn of events that force him to realise what's truly important in life, I laughed and cried all the way through. There is so much embittered honesty in his observations about modern life. This one passage had me in hysterics,

"I started going to the gym recently and it was fun, at first... there are the overweight women who look like they were poured into their lycra and forgot to say when; the work-shy layabouts spending their dole money on Lucozade; the bored housewives who drive to the gym, walk on a treadmill whilst watching MTV, eat a Mars bar to celebrate the successful completion of their exercise routine, and then drive home again."

I think he struck a nerve in my own shameful vanity... But there's a lot of heart too. Essentially he's just a young, confused guy just trying to work out his place in life and struggling to understand all of life's little absurdities.

The one thing I would have to say is that it can be very crude, and perhaps not for the squeamish or faint-hearted, especially when it comes to sex. Jack's tell-it-like-it-is style may not be for everyone, but you can't deny his truthfulness. Jack can also be a bit of a b*stard sometimes, and I often found myself wondering if he was really an entirely sympathetic narrative character, but in the end I realised that it was this complexity that made the book all the more satisfying, and when he comes good in the end you can't help but feel somehow redeemed yourself. There's a little, maybe a lot, of Jack in all of us, and if you're young, running low on your idealism and need a funny, outrageous and strangely moving pick me up, then this is definitely a great read.

It's very uncompromising and doesn't pull its punches, so I guess it's one of those love it or hate it kind of books. I certainly know which side I'm on!
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on 30 March 2007
I read Twenty Something recently after it had been highly recommended to me by several friends and colleagues - like them, I became an instant fan after the first few paragraphs. As a twenty something living in London myself, I was amazed by how accurately Hollingshead portrays this world. Equally though, this book should appeal to any generation and you certainly do not have to be a Londoner to appreciate it - in fact, non-Londoners will love the witty send-up of elements of London life and society. Hilarious and addictive - I didn't want it to end. Sequel please!
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on 20 July 2009
Iain is so clever in the way he wrote this book. I can't stop laughing at the witty conversations and details. This is such a great way to describe about the boredom and lack of motivation/direction in the modern youth generation. Highly recommended!
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on 12 May 2006
Iain Hollingshead's debut is to put it mildly, awesome! It's chest-heavingly funny, rude, deeply personal and full of raw, honest realism as well as being acutely observational on todays' lost generation. The likeably charming, yet comically conflicted Jack experiences a journey from the world of cynical resignation, into troughs of despair and up hills of spiritual realisation, embracing and taking life by the horns and following his heart. Along the way, he decontructs many a modern-day myth and will make you ponder whether you're running your life or life is running you. And he will do this while making you chuckle. Totally recommended for anyone with any doubts about anything. I.e. all of us! Buy the book and feel priviledged in getting to know Jack Lancaster.
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on 5 May 2006
read it almost in one sitting on a long train journey back home to Edinburgh. Without doubt it accurately portrays the feelings that I think all of us have had at one point, wondering whether our life is going to be a success and what success really is. Much of it is funny (cue strange looks on the train as I laughed out loud) and there is one part (without giving the plot away) that bought tears to my eyes because it is so poignant and well written. To be honest I have been boring all my friends to tears telling them how good it is and making them buy it but I really enjoyed it that much. Buy this book; you really won't be disappointed.
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on 3 June 2006
If Kingsley Amis hadn't have spawned Martin Amis, he would have spawned Iain Hollingshead. Jack Lancaster's antics at an investment bank and at play outside really reminded me of my time at ING Barings. Not only is there not a bum note in terms of ringing true to life, it also asks some very interesting questions of all of us. To redeem Jack Lancaster, we must, I fear, solve ourselves too. Floreat Hollingshead!
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on 14 May 2007
I read it in 4 hours; it was an amazing book. I read some of the earlier reviews, and the one that gave this book only 2 stars seemed to blame the book's "uninspired" prose and the sudden change of events (i.e. when Jack travels to S. America) but I think some of those quick turns are intentional. I think Jack's eccentric plan to travel in S. America, done with hardly any indecision, is for the reader to almost smile at how quickly Jack decided to go. I mean, who hasn't dreamed of one day just walking up to the airplane counter and buying a ticket to God-knows-where? That was one of the most brilliant pieces!!

Overall, I think this book is amazing. It made me laugh aloud, something that is rare in books, I even cried. About halfway into the book I didn't really expect it to be very emotionally satisfying; I thought it was a purely shallow book and that by the end I'd still be laughing but it wouldn't have much heart. I was wrong. The end of the book proved the best, plenty of comedy and some great depth. It was perfectly balanced.
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on 13 July 2009
As a 25 year old going through my own "what am I going to do with my life" crisis I was expecting to find some parallels between myself and this book unfortunately the main protagonists are quite frankly moaning about non-problems. If you are a University graduate, have an excellent job and nothing to really worry about then you may well find this books speaks to you, if like me you're from a council estate with limited oppurtunities you will find a small amount of humour from how gutted the main character is that he is a BANKER !!??!! (insert W).
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