Having fallen behind recently on the book challenge, I managed to whip though this 470 odd pager in pretty much spot on 24 hours (no applause please – oh go on, just a little then).
Set in the 1980’s, Starter For 10 tells the story of Brian Jackson, a slightly pretentious working class teen – very reminiscent of a cleverer Adrien Mole – who goes off to university with dreams of sex, socialising and starring on the TV show University Challenge. Meeting and falling in love with the beautiful wannabe actress Alice, he struggles with just about all of his aims, whilst trying to properly integrate his new college life with his more modest background in Southend.
The lead character is cracking, and for any trivia boffs with a massive interest in books and using long words simply to sound clever (yes yes, the main character appears to be me. He even has a preoccupation with trying to fit ‘eponymous’ into conversation if at all possible – a specific word which I try to do likewise with) Brian will immediately strike a chord. The book itself is funny throughout, and definitely worth a read, but is by no means the greatest book around – or even necessarily the greatest book of its type. The big let down is the ending which seems a little rushed and doesn’t match the deft characterisation from the rest of the book. Having said that, it doesn’t distract too much from the book overall. A perfect read should you have a long plane or train journey coming up.
David Nicholls is also the author of the quite brilliant One Day.