Sunday, 9 August 2015

Days of Throbbing Gristle - Kevin Cole

I really didn't know what to expect when I received an email from author Kevin Cole with the heading "Book Review Request - Days of Throbbing Gristle" but I was very intriuged after I'd read the blurb and due to my love of big books (this one has over 800 pages!) I decided to give it a go.

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you'll know that I don't usually post the synopsis but I'm making an exception for this book as it will give you a much better overview than I could.

Does Heaven know you're miserable now?

It’s 1987. Sam Henry Hay, a 17-year-old exchange student from Sheffield, hops into Texas, USA, with one burning ambition: Manipulate his gullible host parents into funding his university, and leave his dead-end life in Yorkshire behind.

But is Sam manipulating America or America manipulating Sam? The clever lad schmoozes his way into many a bed and purse, yet can’t get rid of anyone. He executes careful plans, only to watch them disastrously fall apart. Worst of all, this once proud nihilist watches in horror as he reveals a conscience, in a world growing ever darker around him.

Days of Throbbing Gristle is not your typical teenage tale. It’s a razor-slashing journey through a time and place that really was as bad as you’ve heard. For some, high school is the best time in their lives. For others, it’s a miracle they make it to the other side.

I must admit that it took me a little while to get into this but once I was I found myself quickly clicking through page after page on my kindle.

All of the character's are very realistic and well written. There's Sam, who is sarcastic, manipulative, dark and cynical; Donna Turner, the host mum, who is, to put it bluntly, an unscrupulous bitch; Heather, the petulant teenage daughter and Jill, the unpushy Jehovah's Witness. Despite the huge diversity of these character's they all come together extremely well.

This is far from your typical coming of age/ YA novel. I loved the fact that there was nothing predictable about it compared to other novels from this genre and it covers a vast array of topics including religion, drugs and homosexuality but they were all there for a reason and not included for effect as I've seen previously. 

Overall I enjoyed reading this but I did feel that it was overly long in parts and some of the 'side stories' although great to read, could have been left out without detracting from the main plot. That aside, Kevin Cole has written a well constructed, humorous, historical, epic and even poignant novel which is well worth reading if you have the time and inclination to fully devote yourself to it.

With kind thanks to author Kevin Cole for my review copy.

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