Slam Hardcover – 4 Oct 2007
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'A moving read for anyone'
-- Elle Magazine, Thursday, November 1, 2007
'Hornby takes away the raw ironies of life and gently rubs away at them to reveal gems of bittersweet truth.' -- The Observer, October 7, 2007
'Truthful and funny' -- Sunday Times, October 7, 2007
'Very funny...very real' -- Telegraph, October 18, 2007
'Warm, witty and wise' -- Arena, October, 2007
About the Author
Nick Hornby was educated at Cambridge (English) and continues his education at the Emirates Stadium (football/facts of life). Nick began his career as an English teacher before going on to write the internationally bestselling novels High Fidelity, About a Boy, How to be Good and A Long Way Down. He has written 3 works of non-fiction, the hugely popular Fever Pitch (loved by Arsenal and non-Arsenal fans alike), 31 Songs and The Polysyllabic Spree. Fever Pitch, High Fidelity and About a Boy have all been made into successful films. Nick has won many awards and is a huge pop music fan. He lives and works in Highbury, North London. Slam is his first teenage fiction novel.
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Top Customer Reviews
I'm guessing there have been a number of good YA books about teen pregnancy -- and if that's the case, add this one to the list. The simple story is narrated by 18-year-old North London lad Sam, reflecting back over the past two years. While it's pretty bare bones -- the cast doesn't really extend beyond Sam, his girlfriend, their respective parents, and two skater acquaintances -- things are made livelier though the device of having Sam discuss his problems with a poster of legendary pro skater Tony Hawk (whose responses are passages Sam has memorized from Hawk's autobiography). There are also a few jumps into dream sequence/time-travel which break up the straightforward narrative, although they don't actually add up to that much.
The book's real strength comes from Hornby's ability to capture the inner life of a teenage boy while avoiding all the usual pitfalls. Sam is neither too articulate nor too dense, and he's basically a well-adjusted, pleasant teen who hasn't gotten into any trouble -- until now. His narrative is full Hornby's trademark observational wit, although without nearly as many pop culture trappings as usual. The book certainly carries a cautionary message about teen sex, but it's never hectoring or reductionist. There's a strong sense of hopefulness for Sam, despite the deep hole he's dug himself. It's not an amazing book, but certainly a cut above the average.
Sam has a stereotypical background (raised by a single mother who had him whilst herself a teenager and emotionally distant from his father). The central character device of having him talk to a Tony Hawk poster reminded me of BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM but Hornby has researched skater terminology and slang and Sam's relationship with his friends is entertaining.
However the book suffers because Hornby wants Sam to be a bit of everything. He's inarticulate about his own feelings but is perceptive as to the emotions of those around him and explains them. It's a tension that does not come off. Hornby makes a lot of Sam's wanting to be a good dad, but it comes too late in the text for it to have the emotional impact it needs.
I didn't believe in his relationship with the middle-class Alicia as it's unclear what she saw in him other than that he was there and a way of getting at her snobby parents. Alicia is two-dimensional (all we learn is that she wants to be a model and is a little arrogant) and it's disappointing that Hornby avoids any discussion of her aborting the baby as this could have led to some interesting emotional development on both her and Sam's part.
Hornby's time-travel device is a problem. He hedges on whether it is actually happening, which makes it difficult to suspend disbelief in these scenes.Read more ›
I'm so glad I did, what a fantastic and painfully funny book. Certainly Hornby's best since `About a Boy' with which it sets a fairly consistent tone. This is quite remarkable as `Slam' is written in the first person as a teenage boy. Although `About a Boy' was very insightful into the mind of an adolescent boy and his relationship with the adults around him it didn't have to do it in the boy's voice. `Slam' is written in a very convincing voice of a fifteen year old boy, although the language and passions for music and skating very much tie the novel to the present the spirit in which it is written ties it to teenagers of any generation and consequently I can feel a certain empathy for a teenager I could obviously have fathered.
I don't want to tell you anything of the plot as it would spoil the book to hear about it in my voice rather than `Sam's', trust me it's better than the blurb which relies too heavily on the Tony Hawks fandom to give a balanced appreciation of the book.
I think that the reason that Sam's voice in `Slam' works is that it still resonates with the same passion as Rob's did in `High Fidelity'.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
You could at least warn buyers that this version (the first you're presented with if you search for "Nick Hornby Slam") is an ANNOTATED LEARNER'S VERSION for German... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Severine
Slam Book Review
Sam the narrator of Nick Hornby's book is 18 and he is writing about when he was 16 a time when he regularly had imaginary conversations with his hero... Read more
Much to the probable annoyance of nearby sun-lounger occupiers, I read this on holiday by the pool. Annoyance? Yes; the book had me laughing out loud with its wit. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Stuart Aken
We are pupils of a German comprehensive school in the 11th grade and had to read the book "Slam" in our English class. Read morePublished 16 months ago by German pupils
This is another good read. I just love the style of writing and wry humour.Published 22 months ago by Ann
Must read for young, single fathers and all their family and friends. Funny and sad and hopeful. I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to everyone.Published on 21 July 2014 by Lynne
For, I would guess, fifteen to sixteen year olds, and up, this is a non-preachy warning as to what can happen when your feelings run away with you. Read morePublished on 1 Jun. 2014 by Eileen Shaw