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  • Slam
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3.2 out of 5 stars
59
3.2 out of 5 stars
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on 7 January 2009
I was quite surprised to see the diversity and strength of feeling that this book has generated from Amazon reviewers. Most seem to love or hate it - I can't say I felt it was worth getting that excited by Slam.

Ok, it isn't in the same league as Fever Pitch or High Fidelity, but it was a pleasant enough read.

Hornby gives Sam a voice of his own, perhaps not the most authentic voice of a North london teenager, but surely not a million miles away. Sam is dealing with usual teenage worries like parents, skateboarding and girls when an unexpected pregnancy turns his life upsude down. The rest of the tale is concerned with how he deals with the fallout.

Hornby's prose is good in his usual style, it is dryly amusing in places but I must confess I never really found any of the characters over-convincing.

Maybe three stars is a little generous, but I just felt I was in the middle of the extreme opinions aired elsewhere.
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on 6 March 2011
I picked this up cheap in a charity shop mainly on the basis of having seen the Fever Pitch and About A Boy films which I quite liked and I'd been aware that Hornby seemed to have some quodos in the modern writing fraternity.

Oh dear, this book was like watching a, well at best lets say an average film, you start off with good expectation for the first quarter, hope it's going to get better in the next quarter (but it doesn't), think that you should give it up at this point but decide through perceverence that it might improve but at the end you really wondered why you bothered.

I'm at a loss to know where the 'humour' is prevelant in this novel - there's a few moments with Rabbit that raise a smile but elsewhere???????????

I don't really know where this novel is taking us, I'm sure there are innumerable books/novels on teenage pregnancy but this is simply an uninspiring one that takes you nowhere.
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on 28 May 2009
Contrary to the review printed on its cover Slam is not a funny book, it's an amusing book with some funny bits in it. Neither is it about skating, it's a book about a sixteen year old skater who credits TH with more than average powers, even for a world famous skater. In fact you don't need to know anything about skating at all to read, and even enjoy, this book although being a skating know-it-all will not do you any harm (as far as reading the book is concerned).

The skater hero (not TH by the way) gets himself a girlfriend and their adventure into late teens, even he doesn't seem to consider that it's adulthood, forms the bulk of the book. It's a pleasant read that, in the end, I couldn't put down.
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on 24 July 2008
Time to own up- when I bought Nick Hornby's new novel, I was not aware that it was aimed at `young adults'. And to be fair, it is only right that anyone considering a purchase realises that you are not getting the usual Hornby. I am a longtime fan right back to Fever Pitch, but this novel is simplistic to say the least, its language leaden, and I am too far away from my teenage years to relate to the youthful narrator.

Slam concerns itself with a fateful period of a teenage boy's life around his sixteenth birthday, as narrated when he is 18. And- er- that's about it, without giving too much away. The title refers to Sam's love of skating- that's skateboarding to you and me, as is painfully pointed out early on- and his awe of the champion skater Tony Hawk helps to drive the story. I did enjoy the device of relating events in Hawk's autobiography to Sam's own life.

Hornby does introduce one neat trick to lend some spark to a pretty thin story, but fails to develop it enough to make it interesting. I guess the incomplete story serves to show us that real life is messy with no neat and tidy endings- but I found the book very unsatisfying and a long way indeed from the brilliant High Fidelity.
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on 5 October 2008
On Thursday I was off sick, so I read Slam by Nick Hornby. It is authentically narrated as a 15 year old skate-boy who thinks that Tony Hawk's autobiography is a guide for life. The book takes the reader through his first relationship and sexual experiences, and how these are influenced by his mum having had him when she was a teenager.

I didn't feel like it cut new ground, as the plot was simple and fairly predictable, but the voices were authentic and contemporary. There were also a few genuinely touching emotional moments. So, on balance I quite liked it. Its the kind of thing you could pick up in an airport, read during the flight, and leave at your destintion :)
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on 3 July 2008
I've just finished Slam and wonder why I bothered. This book jumps about from one thing to another and never really lets you know what it is supposed to be doing. I thought it was about a skater; he skates probably three times in the whole thing. I thought he spoke to Tony Hawk; he does this too infrequently for what I thought was the main focus of the book. Then he gets a girlfriend pregnant and then he starts time travelling would you believe? Then he moves to Hastings and we are introduced to a whole new range of characters who stary the course for about a minute - this after we have been introduced to his friends in some detail who occupy less than nothing in the story.
I'm going to get a glass of warm milk and have lie down. Maybe I can forget spending my precious reading time on this debacle.
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on 1 February 2016
loved it
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on 19 December 2008
There is so much great literature; and so little time in which to read it! But this? Hornby's barbarous twaddle is as befitting to a shelf of good books as a pustule is to a pretty face.
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on 26 April 2008
The story was flat, the usually brilliant Hornby pop culture references are not there. Reference Tony Hawks,reference the name of a few skate board tricks. The only trick Hornby bothered to describe was a 580 and it really does not take a genius to work that out. Its sloppy. The usual line is I was practicing x trick and then move on to something else. If you are expecting a book with lots of skateboarding metaphores you are going to be very dissapointed.

So on to how modern teenagers are portrayed. Well - they seem to have sex in their bedrooms while their parents are in the house a lot..... yeh right of course they do. The teen girls want to have a baby yeh right..... Thats just about all Hornby bothers to tell us about their culture.

The lazy reaserch is continued into the plot... the hero is whisked into the future during his dreams (for real). It makes no difference to his actions in the present and seems only to be there to add a little 'spice' to the story. not neccesary.

This book just seems rushed, flat and uninteresting. I can't find any humor or any incentive to read this again.
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on 25 July 2008
This book is something slightly different from Nick Hornby, whose books I have enjoyed (particularly "About a Boy" and "High Fidelity"). Typically, I think his target audience is the 30-somethings, although "About a Boy" also featured a teenage boy as a main character so this isn't quite so much of a departure as some may say.
As a 30-something (just), this book did not hit the mark. I understand that the author wanted to take us into a slightly different world, and one that is real for many people, but it is not a world that I relate to, and the main character is not one with whom I could empathise. I think the portrayal of this rather thoughtless teenager was realistic, but not an attractive read (although as ever his easy style made the book quite readable).
I also did not like the "time travel" gimmick. It disrupted the storyline, and was a total nonsense. The author was trying to show how much the boy's life changed and how bewildering and disruptive these changes are in his life, but I think this message was clear enough without this trick.
Three stars - perhaps slightly generous - because it was still quite readable, but I won't rush to read it again.
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