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  • Boom!
  • Customer reviews



on 28 April 2017
Purchased for my daughter. She hasn't yet read it so I have tried to start it. I don't generally read books a great deal, and normally like something to grab me massively on the first couple of pages. This didn't do this which is a little disappointing as I have read other Mark Haddon books and been engrossed from the first page. I am going to give it another try though.
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on 13 January 2018
A good read
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on 8 June 2010
This book was originally published as Gridzbi Spudvetch!, or that was an earlier version of the book published in 1993. Unlike most books that are republished after the author achieves a level or notoriety or fame that should have stayed unpublished, this one is a phenomenal book. There is an interesting preface in which Haddon says not to name a book Gridzbi Spudvetch because no one knows how to pronounce it nor will they buy it. He also talks about wanting to update the book and how when working on it he changed nearly every sentence, updating and improving the story. If that is the case, he did an amazing job.

The story is told from Jimbo's perspective; he is telling the story of his friendship, and the strange things he and his friend discover. And it all starts because his older sister tries to put one over on him, by making him think he is going away to a school for dummies. The inside cover of the book states: "It was a stupid, insane, suicidal idea. Which makes it quite hard to explain why I decided to help. I guess it boils down to this. Charlie was my best friend. I missed him. And I couldn't think of anything better to do. Really stupid reasons which were never going to impress the police, the headmistress or my parents. Looking back, I reckon this was the moment when my whole life started to go pear-shaped." This is a story about aliens, it is a story about growing up, it is a story about families but most of all it is a story about friendship. It was a light, easy read, the prose flowing smoothly and effortlessly. I read it in two sittings, and enjoyed it so much I am going to track down the original version to do a comparison. It is a wonderful book for adults, or teens.
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on 4 October 2009
I bought this book because I had read and enjoyed two other of Mark Haddons books (curious incident and spot of bother) both of which I had really enjoyed, particularly curious incident. However, as soon as it arrived I realised that I had made a big mistake because this is very clearly a children's rather than an adult's book. In retrospect I should have read the blurb about it more fully before I clicked the purchase button, as it is clearly labelled as 'children's fiction'. However, since I had shelled out the money I read it anyway. It is a story narrated from the perspective of a young boy aged about 12-13. His older sister tells him he is going to be expelled from school and desperate to find out if this is true, with the help of his friend, he bugs the staff room at school. However, what he finds out is something far more interesting and this launches him on an adventure that is literally out of this world. The story roars along at a fair pace and I think it will probably appeal to children in the 8-11 age range (hence 4 stars). Kids older than 11 probably won't be sucked in to the storyline. If you have children in the 8-11 age range it would be a good birthday or Christmas gift. If you don't have children in this age bracket then don't make the same mistake I did. This is nothing like `curious incident' or `spot of bother'.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 28 April 2010
I'm one of the legion of adult readers who quite enjoyed "The Curious Incident of the dog in Night Time." I didn't catch up with his last book (A Spot of Bother), but thought I'd check out this latest one. The first thing potential readers should know about the book is despite the jacket copy declaring it a "hilarious adventure for all ages," the book is intended for children ages 8-12 or so. As a result, it's very short (adult readers should be able to read it comfortably in about 90 minutes), it's entirely "clean" (no curse words, etc.), and the characters are pretty thinly developed. As such, it's very well suited to its intended audience, but adult readers will probably find it too simple. The second thing potential readers should know about the book is that it's not new -- it's a retitled (and possibly revised) version of Haddon's 1993 book Gridzbi Spudvetch!, which was only published in the UK. So, if you take issue with popular authors repackaging their backlist, you've been warned.

The story itself concerns two young (maybe 10-11ish?) boys who stumble into an intergalactic adventure (that's not a spoiler, the cover image of a rocket ship kind of gives it away). When eavesdropping on their teachers, they are confused by a sudden transition to gibberish. Intrigued, they investigate further, and soon find themselves on the run from mysterious men in grey suits with lasers in their fingers! (The cover of the original UK version actually has a pretty cool comic-book style drawing of a scene involving one of those fingers.) Anyway, wacky adventures ensue, with some genuine peril thrown in. The story has some potentially interesting elements, especially the unemployed father of one of them. However, these are relegated to background roles, and, as with all classic children's lit, it's up to the kids to save the day.

Ultimately, I guess it might appeal to younger boy readers -- especially those with a taste for sci-fi stuff. It zips along at a rollicking pace, and there are enough unexpected twists to satisfy young readers with short attention spans. But there's no way I would recommend it to adults, unless you're reading it with/to your kid.
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on 4 March 2016
More of a story for children though still very enjoyable with Mark Haddon's usual ability to observe family life well.
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on 8 October 2009
I have read two Haddon books and must admit that I also loved this one. Even if it was rated as a childrens book I enjoyed it very much and had to laugh often. Try it, it has only 200 pages:-)
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on 15 December 2009
BOOM received by my grandson for his 9th birthday. He rated it 'brilliant, fantastic,' Hes reading it for the second time.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 21 June 2011
When Jimbo's older sister Becky tells him that he is about to be expelled his friend Charlie helps him bug the staff room so they can find out if it's true or not. While they don't hear anything relating to Jimbo being expelled they do hear two of their teachers talking in a strange language that neither of them have ever heard before. Their curiosity about this language leads them to start an investigation into their teachers which ends up having very surprising results.

I'm a big fan of Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time so was keen to try Boom! but I have to admit that I didn't realise that it is targeted at a much younger age range (I'd guess somewhere between 8-11). I don't usually read books aimed at this age range so I found the story a little less well developed that I would have liked but I think it is probably perfect for it's target audience. As an adult you have to be able to suspend belief at the things a couple of young children manage to achieve (driving all the way to Scotland despite the fact that they've never driven before for example) but the story was a fast paced and funny read and I finished it in one sitting.

I would definitely recommend this for younger children, especially those who like science fiction stories but I don't think it will really appeal to most adults apart from as a book to read with their children. It has left me with the strangest craving to try a cheddar cheese and strawberry jam sandwich though!
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on 30 September 2011
This is an excellent story. I have read it to a class of children and they loved it - it is very funny and would appeal to boys and girls aged 9-12. In all honesty, though, I had a great time reading it myself! Just a word of warning if you are going to read it to children - it does have the word c**p in it towards the end. This is obviously not a massive problem, but just in case you read it to a class who have particularly uptight parents, you might want to change it to 'crumbs' :) Thoroughly recommended.
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