Thursday, March 19, 2009
Nick Hornby's Slam wasn't a bad read. I recently read another one of his books, A Long Way Down, and he proved that he is a good author to pick up and read. I do want to read High Fidelity someday too.
I read this one on audio tape, and I think it really gives the book a an authentic, flavorful feeling. Since Hornby is British, he has British actors read his books. I like hearing them spoken with that accent. I don't know what it is about it, but it makes me feel more connected with the setting and the characters. It's a pretty cool experience.
This book interested me because of its nature with young adults. The book is essentially about teenage pregnancy and is told from the point of view of the sixteen-year-old boy, Sam. Not only does it tell of his experience of getting pregnant with a not-so-serious girlfriend, but he also describes the experience he had as being the child of a mother who was sixteen years old when she had him.
Sam feels pretty embarassed and ashamed of his young, hot mom. He definitely muses about the pros and cons. He likes that she's young and they're close in age, but he doesn't like when his friends hit on his mom or ask her out. It's also interesting that since he had this strong feelings against his mother's young pregnancy that he ends up in the same situation himself. But we see this all the time with kids. You don't always have to follow in your parents footsteps if you don't want to! You'd think he would have been scarred enough to try to prevent this from happening. But that's what makes the story interesting.
Sam is a skater and has this deep connection with Tony Hawk in his mind. Yeah, it sounds weird. He has a poster of him on his wall and talks with him in his mind all the time. He reads his book over and over and looks to him for help and guidance. Perhaps he does this because there is so little parenting in his life that he needs a real friend or person for advice?? It was a strange part of the book to wrap your head around.
AND, as if Tony Hawk speaking in his mind isn't enough (which is probably only his own psyche communicating with him in the persona of Tony Hawk and to show his youth and ignorance), he flashes into the future a few times once he knows he is going to have a baby. He is never happy with his future and is upset about it, but when he waits for it to come, it's not so bad. He learns that he could handle it, because he never thought he could.
In terms of dissecting the topic and concept of teenage pregnancy, the book is fantastic. It really shows all sides: the mother's, the father's, the parents, the child's. It's well rounded too because it shows the negative and positive thoughts, feelings, consequences, and emotions. It shows its complicated nature and the millions of questions that dart around the minds of those effected. Overall, it would really be worth reading, especially for a book group or for a class.
And, should young couples feel obliged to stay together if they get pregnant? What if there is no love? Does that mean commitment forever? I like how they attacked this question. I won't give it away, but I like the diversity of options.
I also really enjoyed British lingo. Slam=fall on a skateboard which is interesting to analyze. You never expect it coming. Toilet=bathroom. Tele=TV. Nappy=diaper. Knickers=pants. College=class (I'm going to college vs. I'm going to class). Mobile=cell. Etc.
I also have to add: All of the speakers tended to end their sentences with the same general endings which got kind of repetitive and annoying after a while. I could predict when they'd be coming. It would be okay if just Sam was saying it all the time, but all of them were, AKA Hornby. They ended most sentences with "isn't it?" or "wouldn't it?" or "couldn't it?" Always a question like that. I was happy when that ended.
I would recommend it. We'll see what you think.
What do you think of Slam or Nick Hornby?