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As If Paperback – 4 Aug 2011

3.7 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books (4 Aug. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847084176
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847084170
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 44,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Blake Morrison was born in Skipton, Yorkshire. He is the author of two collections of poetry, Dark Glasses and The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper; of a children's book, The Yellow House; of critical studies of the movement and Seamus Heaney; and is co-editor of The Penguin Book of Contemporary British Poetry. His bestselling memoir And when did you last see your father? won the Waterstone's/Esquire/Volvo Award for Non-Fiction, and the J.R. Ackerley Prize for Autobiography in 1993. He lives in London.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not a comfortable read, but does make you question your own values and assumptions about the public version of events surrounding this crime. Also puts children to the forefront as sentient beings, and asks us to weigh up the balance of culpability and vulnerability of all concerned in the terrible murder of James Bulger and the resultant media reports of the trial and convictions.
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By Myrna on 31 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is very interesting and gives an insight into the minds of murderers and maybe understanding the reasons why they commit these crimes.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a load of boring writing about his own life rather than the James bulger case. I had to keep flicking through page after page of his mental stories and read very little about the actual case. I hope this author is donating any profits to the bulger family as he doesn't deserve a penny.
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By C. Bannister TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 Dec. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I discovered this book on reading a quote in The Child Who which is a novel with a similar, although not the same, basis as the murder of James Bulger.

Blake Morrison takes us through his days and thoughts while he sat in court where Robert Thompson and Jon Veneables were tried for murder, committed at the age of 10. The trial is intersperced with his thoughts of his own childhood as well as that of his children. His empathy includes everyone, the three sets of parents involved, the three children involved as well as the social workers, the teachers and the city of Liverpool. Don't be fooled though this isn't a simplistic no-one is to blame, the book reads well as he argues to and for several of these points e.g the parents are to blame; what about their parents?. Blake Morrison puts across the view that these children shouldn't have been tried in an adult court, rather they should have had access to pyschiatric help as soon as their involvement was discovered.

Although the premise of the book was to find out why? No obvious answers are found, was it pre-meditated or a prank gone wrong? How will we ever know when 10 year old boys don't think like adults? A sad book particularly in light of the revelation that Jon Veneables has had his parole licence revoked.
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Format: Paperback
"As If" is the author's attempt to understand the "why" of the murder of James Bulger. In an attempt to do this, comparisons are made with his own home life, history and feelings, and while there is no question that his writing is exquisite, too much of the book is given over to describing the author's circumstances. I agree with the reviewer who thought this rather self-indulgent, and I felt a little frustrated since I bought the book to read about the Bulger murder, and not Blake Morrison. I also would have liked more transcripts, drawings, etc.
And yet this seems a small price to pay, since it would then not be the extraordinary book it actually is. One particular account of the author visiting the murder scene left me overwhelmed by some of the most moving and powerful writing I think I have ever read! Morrison's honest treatment of the Bulger murderers is truly commendable, and anyone with so much as a passing interest in the case should read it, so long as they are prepared to forego sensationalism for something altogether more intelligent.
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Format: Paperback
This book is absolutely stunning. It's a gripping and truthful account of the murder of James Bulger. It is remarkably written leaving the reader deeply shocked and overcharged with emotion. This is the type of book that has you in tears but you still can not put it down. You feel compelled to read on. It is a must read for everybody if only to warn people how easily tragic events like this can occur. But be warned it is an unforgetable book which will haunt you after reading it. Blake Morrison writes the events beautifully and honestly. He tries wonderfully to answer the question 'Why' but his comments will go towards the great debate which will go on for a long time and may never be solved. As a reader who was only a couple of years older than the boys who killed James at the time I did not understand all the goings on surrounding the killing and court case so it was a must read for me when the book came out. As a case which is still very much in the headlines to this day, the book makes you realise that James's killers will be freed in a couple of years and will only be young men with all of their lives to live and James never saw past the toddler years. This book should be read by anyone who cares for children.
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Format: Paperback
its the idea that children shouldn't be killers is possibly worrying. as children we are known to have burned insects beneath magnifying glasses, pulled legs off frogs tortured cats etc etc. children are cruel to each other, mercilessly sometimes, too, in acts of bullying that would probably lead to prison sentences were it to happen in adulthood. maybe we are mislead in thinking that children are essentially benign - which happily most are. but if we throw in circumstances that corrupt this essential goodness and the children in question are unschooled or lack a basic empathy that prevents cruelty then events like James Bulger are not so far away? it is a work of fiction but Lord of the Flies demonstrates this possible breakdown. as one reviewer has stated "it's really sad we have to choose between the lynch mob and 'they are never to blame' pseudo liberals." we don't have to choose between these two poles, its understanding how these events come about in our society and how we can stop them. I don't view Blake Morrison as a pseudo liberal - I think that's unkind and almost crass - almost in the camp of the lynch mob themselves. if we do not understand and rehabilitate we are, in my opinion, losing the battle. it starts with our children, basic concepts: love, acknowledgment, safety, approval. the main reviewer asks: why didn't Thompson and Venables choose to become part of the 20% who do NOT abuse others and release young James rather than kill him? I think they will have done with hindsight, or, I hope they have done. if so, there is hope. but the reviewers idea that they could so easily change their minds during that long walk also has a flaw.Read more ›
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