Nick Hornby – Slam (09-032)
Since Fever pitch and High fidelity I have bought every new book by Hornby without hesitation. By the time I had this one at home though, it had to wait on my shelf for quite a while. Reading the back cover didn’t really tempt me to start reading it.
Then again, I have yet to read a bad book by him, so why wait? And I have to admit, again it was worth reading. Skater Sam (not on ice, on a board) is sixteen and tells the story of his life. His parents are divorced, he lives with his mum. His mum was a teenager when she had him, so is still in her early thirties now. Strange with a son as a teenager, but that’s how it is.
Sam has a good life. He loves skating, he is doing all right at school and he’s met a girl he likes: Alicia. He also talks to Tony Hawk. Not the real one, but a poster on his wall. And having read his autobiography so often, it almost seems like Tony talks back to Sam. Whatever question Sam has, Tony has an answer.
Obviously something has to happen (otherwise there wouldn’t be a story to tell..). And something does happen. And it changes his life. It changes his life a lot. Like his mother, he is about to become a parent while still in school. This makes his mum a grandmother before she’s in the second half of her thirties.
It does seem at times that Hornby has been asked to write this novel by the British government, for all teenagers to read. Even the language is exactly what youngsters would use. We, readers, can try to follow Sam’s thoughts, which is difficult enough. Teenage pregnancy is a bigger problem in the UK than elsewhere in Europe, perhaps that is what triggered Hornby.
I enjoyed reading this book, though with the hardly hidden moral of the story screaming from the pages sometimes, I didn’t rate this book as high as several of his other novels. Don’t want to be too negative though, I did laugh a lot reading it, I did feel for the main characters and I feel Hornby has done plenty of research to make Sam as lifelike as possible.
Quote: “I knew, for example, that I couldn’t ask how old the baby was, or what he was called. That would make her suspicious. And there wasn’t much point in trying to explain that I wasn’t the Sam she thought I was, that somebody, maybe Tony Hawk the skater, had put me in some sort of time machine, for reasons best known to himself.” (p.102)
Author: Nick Hornby
# Pages: 344 (7179)