3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
If "Trainspotting" was about hooligans...,
This review is from: The Football Factory (Paperback)
My first thoughts upon reading this was how similar the style seemed to be to that of Irvine Welsh, right down to using hyphens to indicate the speech of his characters instead of speech marks. The similarity was made all the more surprising by the fact that on the version I have there is a recommendation of the book by Welsh on the front cover. However, this only serves to indicate the considerable influence Welsh had on 90's British fiction, with this novel being first published two years after trainspotting. As with Welsh, King's writing is vivid and has plenty of the language necessary to authentically portray the particular white, working class section of society which both authors concern themselves with. The chapter concerning Millwall Away is particularly well written, conjuring up all the excitement and intensity of the Chelsea firm roaming through the Bermondsy estate looking for their Millwall counterparts, yet also describing the sickening harsh reality of main character Tom's personal injuries. This direct, colourful writing style makes the novel a quick, engaging read, although a couple of times I got confused as which thoughts and speech went with which character.
The main difference between this book and the film is that the book has vignettes of characters such as Mr. Farrel the old pensioner war veteran and Will Dobson, the middle-aged journalist slotted in between the accounts of violence, male comeradery, drinking and sex. These provide interesting counter-balancing points of views on the topics with which the book is concerning itself - the state of modern football, the media, differences between generations, law and order, class, racism and gender. Whilst these alternative points of view add depth to the novel and are worthwhile additions as a whole, I found that they could occasionally slow down the main story.
Overall this is an exciting novel about football hooliganism and gives voices to characters who we may or may not agree with but whose voice is not often heard in an authentic way in literature. Well worth a read if you have some interest in understanding this kind of ritualised violence, I read this after Awaydays by Kevin Sampson, and preferred The Football Factory to that book.