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Group Read, August 2019: Kieron Smith, Boy

1001 Books to read before you die

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Aug 2, 12:02am Top

Our August group read is Kieron Smith, Boy by James Kelman. Please join the group read and post any comments and thoughts on this thread.

Aug 2, 4:57am Top

Just waiting for my copy to arrive - then I will need to hide away to read it in a oner, if the other book I read by him is anything to go by!

Aug 2, 7:33pm Top

I have my copy and will probably start my read sometime in the second week of August.

Aug 3, 3:05pm Top

The e-book is on my Kindle Fire and ready to go!

Aug 6, 4:53pm Top

Picking up a copy from the library tomorrow.

Aug 8, 1:54pm Top

I am about 30 pages in. I usually like stories told from a young person's point of view and have read quite a few recently:
Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids
Carry Me Down
Annie John
I'm Not Scared
Almost Transparent Blue
The Butcher Boy
The Wasp Factory
The above titles are all rather short, quick reads. Kieron Smith, Boy weighs in at over 400 pages. I think I will tire of the stream of conscience, heavily accented, story quickly. We shall see.

I think this would make a great choice for an audiobook. I looked around and did not find one...

Edited: Aug 8, 2:27pm Top

>6 BentleyMay: I read this back in Dec/Jan and found it slow going. It's not bad and the writing becomes more complex as Kieron grows up. But while I loved some of the descriptions of climbing drain pipes and trees, Kieron sure has an awful lot of boring-boy-thoughts.

Aug 8, 6:43pm Top

Yes, very slow going for me too.

Aug 8, 7:06pm Top

My review from 6 years ago echoes much of what you are saying here:

"I grew up near Glasgow in the 1970s, and had friends who lived in the sort of places that Kieron describes, so I should have been able to relate to this story. It was fun to come across many words I hadn't heard in decades (e.g. jook, chib, skite, toty, minging, wasnay, crabbit) and the whole fanatical Protestant (Rangers) v Catholic (Celtic) divide he describes was very much alive when I was at school.

Kelman vividly captures the "stream of consciousness" thoughts of a pre-teen boy. However my problem with the book was that it was too long. 200 pages of plotless, repetitious ramblings of a 12 year-old might have been entertaining, but 422 of them.... . As I might have said at the time "Hod yer wheesht son"! 2.5/5"

Aug 13, 2:09pm Top

I am 75 pages in, it all feels rather familiar at the moment, my mum's family is from Glasgow. Even though this is set earlier than when I lived outside Glasgow as a child, the sectarian violence and knife crime was very much present when I returned to the city as a student. Not sure if I can describe this as a whimsical coming of age story at the moment when you as a reader join the dots the narrator doesn't yet understand.

As BentleyMay said, an audiobook would be great. Not sure yet who would be best: James McAvoy, Robert Carlyle, all depends on how this book continues.

Aug 14, 12:19pm Top

>10 soffitta1: I would love an audio version of this book! I am about 80 pages in and finding it interesting but I am hoping that Kieron's world expands as he grows as I can't quite see staying connected for 400 pages if the viewpoint doesn't widen.

Aug 15, 5:13pm Top

This book is charming but would be better if I were in a slower, more meditative frame of mind.

Aug 15, 11:12pm Top

I found there was some charm, some humor, a lot of truths, but mostly I found that young boys are pretty limited in what they think about so there was a fair amount of boredom as well.

Aug 16, 5:13pm Top

Having finished the book, I agree with the comments above. A shorter book or even connected episodes would have packed a bigger punch. Very realistic, but I guess we all thought our lives were more interesting at 12 than they really were.

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