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I live in Bedford, England. Having retired from teaching; I am now a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Threshold Concepts in the context of A-level Physics. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. I have also recently become a keen playgoer to London Fringe Theatre. I enjoy mostly classics and I read the playscripts and add those to the blog. I am a member of Bedford Writers' Circle. See their website here: http://bedford-writers.co.uk/ Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

"Lolito" by Ben Brooks

A fifteen year old boy, Etgar, discovers that his girlfriend has had sex with another boy. Confused and home alone he enters an adult chat room on the internet and hooks up with Macy, an older woman. Cyber sex leads to the real thing.

On the one hand I found this a page turner. I wanted to know what happened.

On the other hand I found it very difficult to read. The narrative jumps backwards and forwards in time. I can cope with that. But Etgar's inner dialogue is very confused. I think the author is trying to recapture the confusion and chaos of all our thought processes but particularly that of a fifteen year old boy. On the one hand Etgar seems extraordinarily naive. He surfs the internet for porn, he drinks and smokes and goes to house parties, but he doesn't know whether he should fight the boy who had sex with his girl and when he tries he makes a complete mess of it. He and his friend Aslam use street slang but often say the wrong thing. Perhaps this mixture of adulthood and childhood is deliberate; the author is trying to demonstrate the confusing liminality of puberty. Etgar is convinced he looks like a child but he has no difficulty buying alcohol with his fake id; perhaps again the author is telling us that he does look like a man and it is only Etgar's self-image problems that make him think he doesn't. Perhaps this is why Macy gets lured into having sex with Etgar even though his lies about being a mortgage broker as so transparent. Perhaps. But while I think I know what the authro is attempting (and applaud the attempt) I found it difficult to suspend my disbelief. And, given the revelations later in the book, Etgar's naivete simply did not work for me. Had he been naive and had to grow up very quickly I could have (possibly) credited it. But the time plan of the book suggested that he should have grown up at least a year before the events started.

An ambitious attempt to enter into the mind of a a modern teen but in the end I felt it lacked credibility.

January 2015; 276 pages

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