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on 11 December 2015
I thought I'd give the Trainspotting series a go, starting with Skagboys. I wasn't sure what to expect and was a little surprised. First, it's written in Scottish. Now, I've lived in Edinburgh before, so my spoken Scottish isn't bad, but my reading skills were sadly lacking at first. Persistence pays off here. Next, the book is darkly comedic, it takes no prisoners, heroin is fun, but you pay a price, it's just a matter of how high, and remember this is set in the burgeoning aids epidemic in Edinburgh. But some of the set pieces are cryingly funny. Franco being interrupted by the father during oral sex will have you laughing out loud, then you switch to the indifference to death in favour of another hit, or indeed, anything for another hit, no matter how small.

So, it paints a bleak picture, but in an often amusing way. The dialogue is hard at first, but worth it. It's well paced, but character switches can catch you unawares. Will I carry on to Trainspotting? I think so, even if I know how it ends...
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on 20 April 2018
I bought this along with the other 2 books of the Mark Renton Trilogy, as I'm a fan of some of the film adaptations of Welsh's books, Filth, Trainspotting (1&2), and thought it worth reading some of his work.

I'm not going to lie, it wasn't my favourite of the 3, I found it too long, and frankly quite boring in parts - and this is from someone who reads construction specifications and contracts.. but I refuse to not complete a book - unless it really is utter tripe - so I persevered.

I'll continue to keep an eye out for the films, but I can't say I'll be rushing to re-read this or the other Welsh books - sorry
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on 12 December 2017
Trainspotting and Porno are two of my favourite books. I slogged my way through the decidedly awful The Blade Artist but I just can't finish this.

As ever there are moments of pure brilliance. The moment when Renton and Sickboy finally try heroin is genuinely thrilling but you have to wade through so much to get there it's just not worth it. The chapters skip from character to character from one plot point it's hard to care about to one that's even worse to some rubbish about diseased trees.
Sickboy goes from a master manipulator to paedophile pimp in the blink of an eye.
And then there is the constant effort to mine hidden depths from Begbie that only result in him becoming a mess of a character

I really looked forward to reading this and all I can muster is meh.
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on 21 August 2017
Absolutely magnificent.
Cynical, disgusting, insightful, repulsive, heart breaking, violent and hilarious in equal measures.
Belly laughs galore on a sick depraved trudge through the HIV and Heroin riddled streets of Leith during the early Thatcher years.
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on 16 February 2017
Mr Welsh does this prequel of Train Spotting justice. All the Turkish baths you'd expect likesay ken? With Renton, Sick Boy, Spud & Begbie as well as all their mates and associates making an appearance. A real page turner! Ah jist couldnae pit it doon ye ken?
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on 11 October 2015
There's no doubt that Irvin Welsh can write. No doubt about that at all but writing a prequel to Trainspotting was always going to be a tough job. As an explanation to why Renton etc fall into heroin use Skagboys falls short. For a start, Renton seems world weary and nihilistic to a far greater degree than he does at the start of Trainspotting. The characterisation just doesn't gel.

There are glimpses and glimmers of the brilliance of Trainspotting however the prequel is just too unremittingly miserable and lacks the genius humour, albeit dark, of the original.
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on 27 May 2016
Probably an accurate portrays of the I've of drug adicts but I found the boo tedious and devoid of humour. Very weak compared with the entertaining Trainspotters, which also conveyed the miery of drug abuse.
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on 5 January 2018
A great prequel to the cult classic trainspotting. Skag boys again follows Renton, sick Boy, spud and Begbie as coming of age youths in Scotland in the 1980s. This book gives you great insight into political and social issues at the time through a page turning plot and rich characters.
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on 9 November 2015
Disappointing; not a patch on the original or even the patchy sequel Porno - and cerianly nowhere near the standard set by Glue & Marabou Stork.

Not a dreadful book but just such a disappointment.
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on 22 January 2017
Good story line, but a really, REALLY hard to read if you're not used to reading 'Scottish language'. I swear I was having to google Scottish slang at least once every time I read this book just to work out what was actually going on, which kind of makes you forget the story line when you're trying so hard to understand the passage that you're reading.

However, it is a good story line from what I have read (I have since given up half way through)- it does drag a little in parts.
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