- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 2814 KB
- Print Length: 350 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Andy Dale Writes; 1 edition (15 July 2015)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00W5M9RHI
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #209,780 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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A prequel to Dale's debut novel 'First Years: Piranhas in the Bedroom' about his university adventures later in the decade, the story focuses on the life and loves of Jonathan, his trivial, almost quaint concerns, celebrating the joy in the mundane and the worries of any teenager: the day-to-day grind of the school day, his family and the characters within their bubble.
Following a season's diary format from August to May, beginning with the days leading into Aston Villa's first competitive game of the campaign in summer 1980, all the typical hallmarks of the era are noted – the Subbuteo obsession, Roy of the Rovers, black and white TV (Grandstand being a key component of Jonathan’s viewing pleasure) – as well as the local references, the fuzzy medium wave-quality football match commentary and the 'goal claxon' of his local Birmingham radio station when there’s a goal involving one of the local sides. Of little concern for his south-coast holiday surroundings, Jonathan's main worry is of trying to find out the result of his favourite team while his parents could not be less concerned – “why do they always plan holidays for the start of the season” he muses.
Although football is a primary obsession (“with the Villa winning at least I can enjoy Sunday without dreading Monday morning at school” – a sentiment most football fans growing up can empathise with), scholarly issues too provide a focal point to the narrative. Bringing to mind early era Grange Hill – the unhinged school bully, the attractive female teacher, the inept male counterpart plus emerging love interests – we develop an understanding for his environment, of the friends he makes, as well as his hopes and dreams for the future.
Underlying this is family, his relationship with his older brother and the deteriorating health of his grandad as well as music, the often odd intricacies of disco lyrics, as well as an unhealthy obsession for Abba. There's a fair helping of wry observation and the behaviour of adults around him, and his burgeoning relationship with Grace Taylor (there's shades of Sue Townsend's Adrian Mole, as Jonathan notes that her hair “smells really nice. Almost lemony... Probably best not to mention the lemons”).
Littered with pop culture references from the period and dripping in nostalgia, Dale has produced an entertaining read to keep even non-football fans – and non-Villa supporters – amused, harking back to a period when, for all of us, the future was an exciting Internet-free world packed full of possibilities...