Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Slam by Nick Hornby
Reasons for reading: Nick Hornby's great - I'm using his April 17, 1957 birthday for the Celebrate the Author Challenge
Description: "Just when everything is coming together for Sam, his girlfriend Alicia drops a bombshell. Make that ex-girlfriend-- because by the time she tells him she's pregnant, they've already called it quits. Sam does not want to be a teenage dad. His mom had him at sixteen and has made it very clear how having a baby so young interrupted her life. There's only one person Sam can turn to--his hero, skating legend Tony Hawk. Sam believes the answers to life's hurdles can be found in Hawk's autobiography. But even Tony Hawk isn't offering answers this time--or is he? Inexplicably, Sam finds himself whizzed into the future, for a quick glimpse of what will be . . . or what could be. In this wonderfully witty, poignant story about a teenage boy unexpectedly thrust into fatherhood, it's up to Sam to make the right decisions so the bad things that could happen, well, don't."
First line: "So things were ticking along quite nicely."
My thoughts: Funny and laddish as always! Sam is a great character and the story is very much from his point of view. He's a very real-feeling character - scared, smart, stupid, caring, cranky, and confused. And funny! He sort of tries to do the right thing, but doesn't always succeed. And the talking to the Tony Hawk poster parts are a hoot when Tony "responds" with quotes from his autobiography that are often not particularly useful.
I found the whole "whizzed into the future" thing a bit weird, though. I suppose that it added novelty, but I don't know that it provided a whole lot more than if the story had just been told straight. Sam's narration was enjoyable enough without that added element, I thought.
And...I don't actually know if I'd recommend this book to a teen boy. The awesomeness quotient provided by Hornby's wit combined with skateboarding is severely downsized by the whole teen pregnancy aspect. I just don't see boys who want to read about Tony Hawk wanting to read about teen dads - most of our skater-boys are young teens or pre-teens - it wouldn't be appropriate for them. It's a shame, because it's a really funny book with lots of guy appeal, but with a big, glaring non-appealing element. Older teen guys would probably like it, though. And so did I.