It's November, I'm back, and I brought books (or, um, book reviews - you know what I mean)!
Nick Hornby's Slam is about Sam, the teenage son of a single mother
who had him too young. Sam, unfortunately, in the course of book, is
about to follow in his mother's footsteps. Sam's a pretty normal
teenager, into skating (that's skateboarding for the
uninitiated), preparing for the possibility of studying art at college,
and, of course, spending all kinds of time with his superhot girlfriend,
Alicia. Everything is going along quite nicely, that is, until Alicia
Slam's kind of a weird book.
Sam himself is, for the most part, a very normal teenage guy. When
faced with the staggering revelation of his girlfriend's pregnancy, he
doesn't really know how to be supportive and kind of irrationally just
wants to run away from the whole thing. In short, he's inarticulate,
obsessed with Tony Hawk, and he's kind of irritating - just like you
would expect him to be at his age. Then there's this weird plot thing
where he consults with a poster of Tony Hawk for tidbits of life advice,
which are tangentially related quips from Tony's book reproduced by
Sam's overactive imagination, and the part with the supposed time travel
(dreaming?) that reveals to Sam the various courses his life might
follow as a too-young dad.
By turns bizarre and
painfully realistic, Slam makes for some interesting reading. Hornby
seems to be spot on when he digs into the issues of teenage parenting,
how unprepared kids are for the responsibility, how the parents eschew
helping for debating over which kid ruined the other's life, as well as
how quickly kids can age when they are forced to take on big
responsibilities. I liked these parts. I liked that even though Sam's
very colloquial narration reveals a character that, from a female
perspective, is, on the whole, kind of aggravating, Hornby doesn't shy
away from a creating a character who has very real and believable reactions
to a very real and drastic turn of events in his life.
I could very
well have done without all the weird Tony Hawk stuff, but even that,
kind of points to Sam's immaturity that obviously doesn't go away just
because he's about to become a father. On the whole, being inside the
head of a character I often couldn't decide whether I'd like to give a
hug or a shove made it a little difficult to love this book, but Slam is definitely an interesting and rare look inside the male perspective on teenage pregnancy.
(No disclaimer today, friends. I, like, bought this book - and read it, too!)