Sunday, June 3, 2012

Review: Hoodie by Brendon Lancaster

Title: Hoodie
Author: Brendon Lancaster site
Format: Ebook, 309 pages
Published: 5/28/2009
Publisher: Self Published
Source: Received from author for review
Challenges: Ebook Reading Challenge (hosted by Workaday Reads), and the Self-Published Reading Challenge (hosted by Workaday Reads)

Hoodie tells the story of Ben a contemporary urban anti-hero, struggling to retain his integrity in a world of shifting values and find direction where few choices exist.  During his ‘summer of love’, we follow his attempts to engage with the real world with frustration and compassion.  Along the way he meets his previously unknown father in the most unexpected circumstances and discovers that there is more to his best friend’s loyalty than he ever suspected.  His experiences of job-hunting will resonate with anyone who has gone down that road.  He discovers that sex can be ugly and exploitative, and that maybe his mum is a person after all.

The story covers topical and controversial issues in a thought provoking manner and provides the perfect antidote to alarmist right wing reporting of youth issues, exploring the problems of modern day Britain from the perspective of a disempowered, disaffected teenager.  Its blend of up to date edgy realism, dream like escapism, gritty hard hitting action, humour and tragedy provides a broad appeal to adult and youth alike.

Basic Synopsis:
Ben, known as “Hoodie” to his friends “The Shady boys”, has decided that he is going to skip school altogether and just find a job and move on in his life. A local homeless man called “Old Joe” gives him a palm reading and discovers that Ben has the rare “simian lines” on his palms. This only fuels his ambition to start his life now. How will Ben and his friends fare in this coming of age story.

Ben is the definition of the double simian lines on his palms. It is supposed to mean that his head and heart lines are one and the same, and in total harmony. He’s ambitious, impulsive, and very easy going. He’s very empathetic to other people. It’s hard for me to say whether I liked Ben as a character as he wasn’t very opinionated, except about the legality of marijuana. But I did like that he was an imperfect character. No PCD. I could go either way.

As for all of the supporting characters, I found them very transparent from the start. I could tell which of the group of friends had a thing for Ben. And which of his friends wouldn’t end up doing the right thing. I wish they would have been a little more mysterious.

Plot and Story:
To put it plainly, Hoodie was very slow paced. Too slow paced for me. When a book is slow paced, I usually find myself getting distracted by other things. And when I get distracted I end up rereading sentences over and over. Monotony isn’t good for me.

One of the parts I liked the most in Hoodie were the part were Ben has vivid dreams from the point of view of different animals. They were very well written, faster in pace, and just plain interesting. The only problem is that these dreams don’t really seem to mean anything in regards to the story. They were good but unnecessary.  

Unfortunately I didn’t love Hoodie. It was a book that intrigued me, but didn’t impress me. There’s not much else to say. I give it 2.5 of 5 stars. 

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