New Read: Slam by Nick Hornby

“It’s funny, isn’t it?” she said when she could speak again.

“My mum and dad think you’ve messed me up, and dragged me down, and all that. And I’ve tried to stick up for you. And you and your mum think I’ve messed you up and dragged you down. And I know I wasn’t ever going to be, you know, a rocket scientist or a great writer or any of the things my parents think I can do. But I was going to be something. I don’t mean something incredible. Just something. And what chance do you think I’ve got now? Look at me. So you had a fight at college. Big deal. At least you went to college today. Where have I been? The kitchen and back. So stop it, OK? Stop it with how I’ve messed up your life. You’ve got half a chance. What chance have I got?”

I bought this book from Grace, 1/2 of Bookers. Knowing that this is a Hornby piece, I knew it would be easy to read. Not that he writes like a high school kid, okay? It’s just that Hornby writes without pretense. You don’t have to jump back a few pages to remember who that character was again or to find out how this character wounded up this-and-that. Or something like that. That’s what I mean.  😀

The story revolves around skater boy Sam and how she gets her girlfriend, Alicia, pregnant. The book tells the intricacies (or not) of teenage pregnancy from the eyes of an immature 16 year-old kid who fails at words, communication and basically speaking up for himself. He courses through the whole thing seemingly apathetic and disconnected. Seriously, you want to rattle the hell out of membrane just to get out a few words from him.

But amid the air of indifference, Sam does care about what’s happening. He does fear the fact that he just repeating history with how his life has turned out. He’s an irony–a good boy who stumbles into the shitty things in life.  Tony Hawk (a poster, that is) also plays a crucial role here because… well, uhm… I won’t really give too much away about the book.

What’s nice about the book is that it talks about teenage pregnancy without getting too intricate, too deep for comprehension. It doesn’t dive into the whole psychological or emotional sides of teenage pregnancy that most adults would want to get into. This really is an honest depiction of how 16 year-old boys act when faced with the responsibilities of fatherhood. Hornby doesn’t try to be too intelligent, too witty about the theme–he talks like a 16 year old boy. The dialogues don’t get too incomprehensible–they’re simple, nitty-gritty and totally spot on.

I was sold after reading this book. Nick Hornby got it right with Slam. It’s a nice read though this won’t go down history as one of the greatest books for teens. 😛




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