Monday, May 11, 2009


Title: Submarine
Author: Joe Dunthorne
Penguin, 2008

This debut novel has been likened to The Catcher in the Rye by several prominent reviewers, and the spirit of Holden Caulfield certainly lives on in the character of 15-year-old Oliver Tate. It certainly tickles my funny bone on more than one occasion, and I guess it is the teenage combo of sure-fire cockiness and monstrous insecurity that endears me so to a lanky youth who gets wildly drunk, breaks into his hot mother's supposed lover and punctures holes in said lover's heart-shaped hot-water bottle. Sad, sure, but oh so genious!

The only catch is, I have never known such linguistically astute, quirkily smart teenagers in my life. Where are they? Do they exist? And although I do know about promiscuous youngsters (isn't that a fun word?), I just don't buy a formerly bullied fat girl, now thin, gyrating against our lucky hero, screaming "I want you right up inside me" and "That's it - lick my tits!". Come on.

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