Tuesday, 6 April 2010


Maybe if Joe Dunthorne's Submarine had clothed its covers with far fewer off the mark testimonials, I would have been a little more forgiving in my judgment of this book. But for the sake of balance alone somebody has to pooh-pooh all the best thing since Catcher in the Rye statements. To live up to such statements Oliver Tate (our narrator) would have to seem like a real character - but he never does. Maybe he was never meant to. Submarine sort of lives in a skewed reality not far removed from a post watershed episode of My Family. Other times it's hard to believe Oliver's ramblings are anything other than the voice of the true author, Joe Dunthorne. To be fair the first chapter was ok. It seemed quite light, quirky, with some pretty clever lines: 'Depression comes in bouts. Like boxing. Dad is in the blue corner.' Unfortunately that line was the last of them and even that one had been wasted on a cover quote. Are there any truths uncovered in this book, other than suggesting that 15 year olds aren't always as right as they think they are? Back to those pesky testimonials. No, no, no. 'Adrian Mole for adults, with a much more complicated protagonist, truer to life and infinitely funnier' Big Issue. I think somebody should go back and read the Adrian Mole books again, because this couldn't be further from the truth if Oliver Tate had written the quote himself.

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