Sunday, June 29, 2008

Submarine - Joe Dunthorne

is it possible for a coming of age epistolary set in britain to not put the reader in mind of a certain adrian mole, aged 13 3/4? something tells me it isn't. young mole has so permeated most people's consciousness that even the authors of such books do not attempt to mask the fact that their work will be compared to townsend's and have a (not unfunny) tendency to make comparisons themselves within the text. this is of course the case with joe dunthorne's "submarine".

oliver tate, "submarine's" main character and narrator parallel's the eponymous mole in various ways. however, despite this, oliver is a unique character unto himself. i can't help but like him, even though i think him a bit of a freak. oliver seems to be absorbed in a world all his own. it's a world peppered with obscure vocabulary, daytime tv self help talk shows, sexual awakening, imperfect parents, and several slightly bizarre instances of stalkerish behaviour. i think i would have like to have been oliver's friend in high school despite his somewhat serious case of social awkwardness. it seems that his self-directed melodramas never fail to keep his life interesting. i recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed adrian mole. but remember, this is a bit more of a modern take on the teenaged experience and as such is prone to be somewhat more honest and graphic.

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