Terms Paperback – 1 Sep 2015
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D.W. Wilson: ‘A fascinating and nuanced debut by a new literary talent.’
School Library Association: ‘An intriguing read.’
More than 50 percent of Netgalley reviewers gave it 4-5 stars
About the Author
Ben attended a succession of eccentric institutions known as 'free' schools, where he couldn't have been happier. He's worked in the film industry for the last fifteen years, while also completing an MA in creative writing at UEA and subsequently a PhD in Film and Television. He lives in South London with his partner. Terms is his first novel.
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The author clearly states that the book is a work of fiction. However, given the subject matter, the way that the author has chosen to blend fact/fiction, and recognisable characters, events, and places-both in this book and his short story ‘Crannock House’ leaves me feeling profoundly uneasy, as to the motivation and ethics of his choice.
The central theme of sexual abuse is one, that if based on real events, I would be very saddened by. If the sexual abuse aspect is based on fact, involving any ex-pupil, I would sincerely hope that the author wrote ‘Terms’ with full knowledge and consent, as to do otherwise would be grossly unethical.
If however, the sexual abuse plot line is complete fiction, it is unkind in the extreme to choose to characterise ‘Mervyn’ as a child abuser, as he will now always have that speculation attached to him.
The novel reads as an accounting of a young man coming back to the place he was schooled, and confronting his unnatural childhood. It's subtle and engaging, and flows with a good pace to the conclusion. An excellent read, heart rending. It's a little -indie- style, almost an art house book, but the level in which you engage with the main character gives you that connection to stop it being entirely dreamlike.
I'd absolutely read something else of his. Give it a go!
Sad to say, sexual abuse of kids definitley happened there- as did bullying, violence, bad treatment of kids with learning difficulties, loneliness, boredom... I was very unhappy there.
I'm a great believer in the ethos of 'free' schools, but this went badly wrong.
I can't attest to any of this book actually being based on real characters or not though, as I wasn't there at the time.
There were some great things about being brought up as a "hippy kid" and some not so great things!
Very well written anyway.