I am still trying to work out why I found this book so gripping and moving - as well as the expected entertaining and amusing. The narrator is very irritating - though weren't we all at that age? Probably, if you come to University from a modest background, you'll obsess a little about class, but this character mixes entirely with his "betters". They are a motely bunch, if a wee bit clichéd (from the bohos to the hooray henries) and he does go on about their class characteristics. I think he got away with his knowing literariness - he was an English student after all - but it mostly adds to his acknowledged nerdness. (What did Alice see in him?) And yet you stick with him, and I'm not sure why, given he is, obviously throughout the book, and clearly in the end, a pure bastard. (Again, I have a guilty thought of my own 19 year old self) Is it because of the (mostly good) jokes and endlessly embarrassing faux pas and capers? or the ever present ghost of his dad? or of his mum and her friend? or because you wonder how the yobby-turned-Christ-like Spencer is going to end up? Or how the punk Jewish genius from Glasgow (with a Paediatrician father, but is an expert on swearing and headbutting - come on!!)on the slide will play out after the summer? I guess it is because Nicholls manages all this, and writes lucidly and vivaciously as well. I'm still confused, but I have fewer doubts that this is a great book. I bet you he thinks it is his best.