Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Ian Ayris

I shouldn't have liked this book.  I loved it!

Abide with Me  Abide with Me

My review -

On the surface I shouldn't like this book at all. I do like my correct English, spelling and grammar and this book is written in East End vernacular. It also heavily features football, which is of no interest to me at all. I began reading with trepidation but after a page or two I found that instead of reading 'incorrect English' I was listening to Johnny Sissons' voice in my head. It was excellently done and 'hearing' it like that made you feel you were sharing his thoughts.

It's a tale told in the first person by a lad from a caring family who grows up with their values. We start with him in the top end of his primary school where he looks out for his neighbour, a fat and intellectually challenged boy who is the target of bullies. He discovers that Kenny is also a target at home for his own father. John shows deep emotions; he really loves his little sister, he respects his parents and loves The Hammers. Even a non-footie person could pick up the excitement and cameraderie of the football matches, especially the final, which has such final results for his family.

Over the next few years we see influences on John which result in his imprisonment. He still lives by his own moral compass though, except that it gradually becomes flawed. His 'lightbulb moment' when he sees what he has become and what it means for his mother and sister is brilliantly done. The ending is fast, exciting, inevitable. This is a surprising and wonderful book. It will challenge you, make you think, pull at your emotions. I highly recommend it.

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