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on 21 June 2017
I wasn't too sure if I was going to enjoy this book at the start, it felt like some of the autobiographies I have read, but a little way in I became absorbed by the story and the writing got better and better. I did really enjoy this book in the end, even if the last few pages left me a little confused. Interesting way to end a story.
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on 14 March 2017
What a fantastic read , absolutely brilliant .... Mark Wilson takes you on such a varied journey , the characters are so life like you could almost touch & smell them , I read the first book of the series and enjoyed it thoroughly but Bobby' s Boy has blew me away , very rarely have I laughed & cried at a book , can't wait to read the textbook in the series , bravo Mr Wilson , beware Irvine a new contender is nearby ........
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on 20 May 2017
A moving story that takes you along on a journey, towards the end you think, is this it, just a boy's journey, what's this really all about, but you'll be a bit surprised. A few laughs and a few tears, read it with the others. Read a lot of Mark Wilson's books, this had a slower pace than the others.
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on 12 May 2017
Excellent read
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on 7 January 2013
An author to watch. This is a first rate work that had me hooked and at one point moved to tears. Highly recommended.
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on 26 August 2013
This is the first novel by Mark Wilson, but as I came to his work late, it's the third of his that I've read. I'm a big fan of his stuff. Head Boy was (is) graphically and unashamedly nasty, Naebody's Hero was (is) a post modern and surprisingly down to Earth superhero tale, and Bobby's Boy is, well, I'll tell you.

Tom Kinsella is a friendly, intelligent and creative step-son in a family where his widowed mother allows herself to be downtrodden by her new husband Mel, after Tom's dad, the eponymous Bobby, dies in an accident at work. Tom is always told that he resembles his dad in so many ways, both physically and characteristically. He loves to write, to create, and to absorb popular culture at an incredible rate.
Every weekend his mum and stepdad will take his baby step sister out, leaving Tom to sit on the back step until they return (Mel will not allow the boy in the house for fear of having his house and personal possessions tampered with). One day, however, they don't return, having perished in a freak traffic accident, and Tom is sent to live with his foul mouthed, but affectionate uncle Alec. From here on in Tom is allowed to grow as a person, to let his creative streak loose, and to fantastic ends for the kid. He finds himself a familiar face around the Glasgow music scene, reviewing gigs and the like, meeting what would appear to be his soul mate, Cathy, along the way. Eventually as his work becomes notorious, the wider world beckons, as he embarks upon a worldwide tour with an unknown American band, who are supporting a more illustrious Rage Against The Machine. What comes next is a rollercoaster of emotions, fights, drinking, smoking, and soul searching, as Tom attempts to figure out once and for all who he is, and why he is.

Okay, let's get one thing clear. Mark Wilson paints great literary pictures. Every scene, every location, every conversation, and every emotion is visualised and deeply felt by you as the reader. He has this knack of giving each and every one of his characters an unashamed way of saying it like it is, of feeling things we have all felt at some point or another, and you can't help but feel for them with each peak and trough they encounter upon life's path. That's what he does best, he writes great people. He writes people that you care for, root for, and ultimately feel disappointed with if they let you down.

Bobby's Boy is no different. It has an obvious comparison to Almost Famous, Cameron Crowe's (in my opinion) masterpiece of cinema. It's a tale of little boy lost in the big bad world of rock and roll, who earns his stripes and finds his balls as he evolves from naïve small town teenager to world weary, wiser than his years teenager in only a short time. His long distance relationship feels the strains of jealousy and paranoia, and send him on a downward spiral, until a familiar face comes to the rescue (which, having read Mark's books backwards, I saw coming a mile off!).

Having read all of Mark Wilson's fictional work now, I really enjoy seeing what he's doing with his work. The peripheral characters that pop in and out of each other's story to give a sweet kick up the behind when things aren't going their way. The obvious affection for people like Uncle Alec, who will undoubtedly make reappearances in his future stuff. If he doesn't I'll go nuts.

The reason that this is a 4, and not a 5 star piece of work, and I sincerely hope the author will forgive me for saying so, is the centrepiece conversations. The ones where Tom is feeling so low that he might as well just end it all. Although they are well timed and well meant, I think that by the third or fourth one, it seemed everybody that Tom knew had an emotional anecdote which just so happened to relate to exactly how he was feeling, and made him reassess his life, leading on to another discovery about his personality. Individually, I loved them, as a collection it bordered on too many.

Overall then, Bobby's Boy is yet another literary triumph from Mark Wilson as far as this reader goes. I know it's his debut novel, and saying 'another' is a contradiction in terms, but I told you earlier on that this is the third of his books that I've read. Pay attention.
From this book to the second and third Mark's writing has evolved, which can only be a very good thing if you're picking Bobby's Boy up as an introduction to his work, because to be honest, this novel is pretty damned excellent. You have some shit hot reading ahead of you.
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on 24 November 2012
To anyone who lived in Bellshill it is clear that is what Mark has done. The "lingo" is perfect for this book but not distracting. To have written it in any other way would have been completely wrong. Bit like writing The Help in the Queen's English, if you get my drift?

It is a compelling read. Admittedly, as a result, I read it a little too fast and will need to read it again, which will no doubt be as, possibly more, enjoyable (maybe not the perfect word in view of the highs and lows of the subject matter, but it'll have to suffice) as the first time.

The possibility of a liberal sprinkling of reality (written and so descriptive if it's not the case, it gives that impression) would be too much to bear if the real life person behind these words hadn't turned out so wonderful despite, and possibly, in spite of it! Yes I do know him but he's not a "friend".

The overwhelming lesson I took from it... Life is too short to waste. You certainly won't have "wasted" any of it reading this book. In fact you might even gain something valuable!

Good job Mark. I look forward to the next...
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on 17 June 2012
As a fellow Scotsman, born in the heady days of 1975, and dragged up through the 80's in a small industrial town; I can relate to Mr Wilson's tale. And I can testify to its authenticity.

In fact, at many time BOBBY'S BOY could be a memoir of my own personal experiences living and learning in a dysfunctional family. The insights into Scottish culture are razor sharp, and often hilarious in their frankness. And for all you 80's kids out there, you'll find plenty of nostalgic goodness within this brisk read. In many ways, the novel felt like stepping into a time-capsule.

Reading like a twisted, working class take on the coming-of-age genre. Wilson's debut novel shows a startlingly brave writer, unafraid to write with real honesty about life, love, heartbreak and joy. Its a darkly humorous ride through hazy innocence and into acceptance of what will be, good and bad. Our central character has to endure some dark times, but the whole thing is shot through with light and positivity. The entire spectrum of emotion is covered here, from love and loss, to hope and despair. Its all there, and even in its bleakest moments, there's never a smile too far away. Much like life itself.

The first rule of writing is, 'Write what you know'. Its clear, as a Scotsman with my own share of demons to battle with, that Mark Wilson has learned that lesson well.

A brilliant novel.
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on 14 May 2013
I am Scottish, but I didn't grow up in Scotland therefore meaning I don't always understand the accent but I am consistently surrounded by the language; this book manages to keep the heart and soul of Scots in its lingo without making it unaccessable to others.

The story is the coming of age story story of a creative boy, the character is fantastic fun to read. This also means you hurt more when you read his troubled journey.

The characters are fun but believable and you will piss yourself laughing at uncle Alec!

Just read it it's not expensive and worth every penny
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on 20 January 2013
Read this book by chance. Couldn't put it down, very easy reading and a story line that I still think about weeks after finishing book. Cannot wait for authors next book
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