Tag line on the front cover: Do you remember your first time?
Answer: Yes. (But I’m not telling you, thank you very much!)
Quote on back cover: Filth, whichever way you look at it. Reading this will put many [girls] off dating for years – Guardian
Reaction: Prime placement as if the publisher is proud of this quote. I feel a lot of things about it, but I read it and now having read the book I agree with it. But I’m not sure it’s a good thing to be advertising on the novel.
If someone had told me that this was simply the result of Burgess following around a handful of teenagers in England and writing down what they did and said and thought for a period of time I would nod and say okay and believe them.
This is, as the title suggests, all about sex.
If the characters aren’t having sex they’re thinking about it and if they’re not thinking about it they’re talking about it.
Pure and simple.
It was insightful, funny, cringe-worthy, sad, depressing, good and bad all at once.
It moved easily between third and first person and between characters – both male and female – and over all presented a view of sex-driven teens in England.
I actually can’t remember ever being that sex-driven. I don’t think I was at all. However this didn’t stop me from not believing it.
There were lies and bullying and fake names and two-timing and bushes and clothing and beds and vomit and forcing and self-image and affairs.
I think the story line I enjoyed most was Ben and the teacher. I also think Ben was my favourite character. The way he portrayed the relationship and when things went wrong. It was clear to me, as an outsider, what… Well I don’t want to ruin it but I could clearly see Ali (the teacher) and everything that goes with that but Ben couldn’t and I actually felt awful for him and wanted him to get out. After all the initial drama and when Ben says, “I’m back, aren’t I?” it broke my heart. Get out, Ben, get out!
Some of the action of the boys actually had me considering how boys think and act. For example, one of the main characters was angry at his brother for telling him something (not to ruin the story but basically the brother was feeling crap and he confided in the MC and then the MC made the brother feel better but in turn took on the brother’s bad mood and that made the MC mad) and then the MC kicked the brother. Just like that! Justified in his mind because he was mad!
I was also shocked at the behaviour of some of the girls and would have liked to think that *some* of them had morals but apparently not.
Actually, just thinking about it, this now reminds me a lot of the TV show Skins (another English show about the lives of teens). I’ve never seen it but am informed that there is a lot of sex and drugs and going crazy.
This was a really fascinating read.
I’d recommend it to anyone wanting to get inside the minds of teenage boys!
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