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on 29 May 2017
I bought the book after seeing the movie, which I loved.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the book wasn't a carbon copy of the movie, and they each have different elements.

It was good, to begin with, but it got a bit weird towards the end. I'm not going to spoil it for potential buyers, but yeah... it's a bit strange.
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on 2 July 2017
Best book I've ever read. Love the movie and soundtrack too. Funny, witty and perfectly portrays the struggles of a first love.
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on 2 September 2017
Fun, enjoyable read
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on 31 March 2015
If you loved the movie you may be a bot confused, like me. The book is very different and the Oliver Tate in this story is very different. Still a very good story though the tone is completely different to the film.
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on 20 June 2013
I was very impressed with this novel. To start with, I only bought it (and heard of it) because I had heard that a film-adaptation has been released, and I didn't want to watch the film until I had read the book. Boy, am I glad I did that, as I was sorely disappointed with the film and would not have read the book otherwise.

When I started reading this book, I found myself a little intimidated by this character, Oliver. He is very intelligent, quirky, sarcastic, but also a bit of a bully. He has a mean side to him, and that made him a bit of a protagonist and an antagonist. As the book went on, I liked that. I liked that Oliver was his own enemy and he was both hero and villain, culprit and victim - so to speak.

He is, simply put, a bundle of hilarious anecdotes, retorts, and observations. I loved the flow of his narrative as he takes us through his journey and into his head where we're given a front-seat view of how his mind works. The main plot revolves around Oliver's relationship with Jordana and the problems in his parents' marriage, and how he deals with all of it. At times imprudent, rude, stubborn and annoying, Oliver remains a character that, although set in fiction, is as real as they come.

My favourite parts of the book were his diary entries. Those were absolutely brilliant, and if I were able to keep a diary as entertaining, brutally honest, and imaginative as his, I would've done it ages ago.
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on 26 December 2014
I'm just going to be honest and lay it all out. I'd never heard of Joe Dunthorne before (I have seen the movie poster before if that counts?). But anyway, Joe came to my college for a talk so I thought, it's time I pick up his book!

The novel is split into three parts. Each part focusing more on a different topic, part 1: Oliver Tate, part 2: his dad, part 3: his mum. I was quite surprised by this read. I didn't really see how the balance of humour on a topic that the book carries could work. But it did.

Favourite part of the book? I really loved the "word of the day" sections that appear every time Oliver wrote into his diary.

"Word of the Day: lemon - informally used to mean unsatisfactory, defective"

I'm not sure if the book really "filled" me though. There's humour, yeah, but the topics were put into a really odd way, Oliver's trail of thinking was distant whilst I read and there was nothing for me to connect with. He's a bit of a weird character, sticks out quite a bit. He's got his own mind set.

It's an alright read. Maybe read it for the layout. But overall I wouldn't be jumping at it.
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on 3 September 2013
I had really high hopes for this book, as it is fairly critically acclaimed. However I found myself rather disappointed. I found it very difficult to follow the timeline of this book; if it was not for Oliver, the narrator, stating his age at certain times I would not considered this novel spanning out over 2 years. There are some lovely and funny anecdotes but I was lost in the writers babbling.
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on 23 August 2009
It may have been because I was reading this alongside the headspinning, quantum theory-heavy "The End Of Mr Y' by Scarlett Thomas, that I found this a bit of a slight, frothy, inconsequential read at first. On reflection, however, there are many brilliantly observed set-pieces that capture the excruciating nature of adolescence and the literal, one-track pubescent mind of its precocious narrator, Oliver, perfectly. It is set in 1997-8, possibly no accident, as this arguably represents the point at which the Internet went truly mass-market: there followed a generation for whom sexuality suddenly became "learnt" via the readily available, highly fantastical imagery of online porn. While this has arguably made today's youth less repressed than their predecessors, Joe Dunthorne rightly poses the pertinent question of at what cost this has taken place. Oliver is erudite, witty, and verbose - and for those who are bothered by verisimilitude, like in the film "Juno", it is sometimes hard to reconcile such a sharp narration with our own memories of what we and our peers were like as 15-year-olds. For those happy to wallow in the fiction, however, there are moments of anti-heroism so startling that Oliver seems to be tipping into autistic territory, a la "The Curious Incident Of The Dog At Night-time". Dunthorne's poetic background - and the inevitable metaphor and simile-heavy effects it has on its writing - started to grate a little towards the end. That said, this is an engaging, mostly well-paced story with hidden depths. One suspects - or hopes - that Dunthorne's best work is yet to come however.
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VINE VOICEon 4 July 2011
I love Oliver Tate, he is great to listen to and to follow his exploits. Joe Dunthorne has created a door into a teenager's mind that is believeable and hilarious, at the same time showing neurotic tendances which make Oliver special.
Oliver's main objectives are trying to save his parent's marriage and having sex with Jordana (not necessarily in that order). Alongside these he has all the usual teenage angst going on.
As Oliver narrates the story, there are obvious comparisions to Adrian Mole which is fair. I found this book to be much better though - it has a very modern feel about it which makes it very real.
Throughout the narrative, Oliver puts into words observations you may have thought before but have not said out loud and seen written down. Along with the use of unusual words, it creates a curious teenager who you will want to find out more about.
Also worth pointing out that I had seen the film before reading the book and it is well worth watching - slightly different plot but good interpretation.
With reference to the plot, I did find that it loses it's way slightly towards the end but overall the book is a good read.
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on 20 April 2009
Finally! A book that can stand shoulder to shoulder with Martin Amis's the Rachel Papers (which, if you loved Submarine, you must also read). Joe Dunthorne, who is, I understand, also a well regarded poet, has created, in Oliver Tate, a compelling and loveable hero; if you have teenaged boys in your life you will wince, cry and applaud - often all at the same time - and if you've recently been one I suspect you might offer up thanks that you no longer are.
This is a book with a clear sense of purpose; to document - unflinchingly (again, Amis springs to mind here) every detail of the business of being a teenager; the emotional, the physical, the metaphysical, the sexual. All set against a backdrop of a lovingly described Gower, peopled with characters who also resonate with truth, and situations (first love, sexual exploration, the anxiety of seeing cracks form in the security of his parents' marriage) that have universal relevance. I can't believe Dunthorne's parents (who MUST have been partly distilled to form Oliver's - if he denys it, I won't believe him) aren't still cringing, rictus grins in place, at the acuity with which their middle-aged peccadillos have been observed.
Don't, however, just expect humour (though there is much). This is a book with a dark side, and plenty of poignant and upsetting moments; darker, definitely, than Adrian Mole. A different animal altogether, to my mind.
It's also written in prose that manages to be that rare thing; beuatifully poetic without ever feeling pompous or overworked.
I can't wait to see what Joe Dunthorne does next.
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