Saturday, 30 November 2013

Starter For Ten by David Nicholls

Starter For TenThe year is 1985. Brian Jackson, a working-class kid on full scholarship, has started his first term at university. He has a dark secret—a long-held, burning ambition to appear on the wildly popular British TV quiz show University Challenge—and now, finally, it seems the dream is about to become reality. He's made the school team, and they've completed the qualifying rounds and are limbering up for their first televised match. (And, what's more, he's fallen head over heels for one of his teammates, the beautiful, brainy, and intimidatingly posh Alice Harbinson.) Life seems perfect and triumph inevitable—but as his world opens up, Brian learns that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

This was a tricky one. I have been a fan of University Challenge since I was six years old. Each Monday night, I would sit in front of the television and watch the programme, I loved it and I think that is why I thought I would love this book, but obviously not. This book changed in context and tone throughout and as that happened, I feel that I lost any connection I had with Brian. Brian is a very intelligent young man, but he isn't that great when it comes to making friends and I really related to that. A book lover, nerd and somebody who is seriously socially awkward. I don't think that Brian's character developed as so much as that thing inside his head that made him incredibly likeable ceased to exist by the final chapters. He became quite arrogant, confused and bent to public opinion, something he had in some ways vowed to never do.

The description in this book, overall wasn't that great, however the plot was skillfully wrote and as much as I really wanted to put this down Nicholls wrote it in such a way that you need to continue until the end. Additionally, I feel 469 pages is quite a lot considering how vague this novel actually was. Several scenes were loosely described, so little that at times it was actually very unclear what was going on. The same happened with characters, in the sense that they were so formless that they had no distinct mannerisms or personalities that set them aside from everybody else.

In conclusion, this was very witty and amusing throughout, but became gradually less and less and that could have easily been sustained to the end of the novel. I enjoyed reading the majority of this but if I'm completely honest I think it could have been so, so much better than the final piece. 

I'd write some more but I don't really feel up to it. We were given an extra day off school and yet I've ended up with food poisoning.

Holly x

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