Monday 26 November 2012

Review - Hoodie by Brendon Lancaster

HoodieHoodie by Brendon Lancaster
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken To Read - Dipped in and out for 9 days

Blurb From Amazon

From the moment Ben Chapman ( 'Hoodie' to the other Shady Boys) crashes out of school, determined never to return and, incidentally, seeking his revenge on the school's drug dealer by stealing and concealing his stash in his trousers on the way out, you know that this is a boy to whom caution and reticence are alien concepts. Outwardly, he maintains that all he wants is a job, his own money and to follow his heart towards the girl of his dreams, Isabelle. But, underneath that concealing hoodie, Ben has a rich inner life, fed by dope, wine and the belief that he is someone special. During his 'summer of love', we follow his attempts to engage with the real world with frustration and compassion. His adventures cause him to question today's competitive, consumer-based values, eventually challenging his perception of reality and prompting him to reflect upon who and what his purpose in life is before finding himself faced with the definitive test of resolve and bravery. Hoodie's blend of up-to-date realism, dream-like escapism, fast-paced, hard-hitting action, wistful musings, humour and tragedy, all while the story navigates its way on a magical mystery tour of Ben's mind, ensures an enjoyable read. It provides the perfect antidote to alarmist Daily Mail reporting of youth issues, exploring the problems facing modern day Britain from the perspective of a disempowered, disaffected teenager. On a deeper level, there is a moral/spiritual sub-text, fed by Ben's belief that he has a secret weapon; the simian lines (fused head and heart lines) on the palms of his hands. These are extremely rare and noted as being a genetic abnormality shared by drug addicts, mass murderers, scientific researchers and religious fanatics (and, by sheer coincidence, Tony Blair). Could these lines hold the key to his future?

My Review

Ben aka Hoodie is the main character, he has just finished his exams and stolen a load of drugs from the school thug. Ben wants a job, to be respected, get the girl of his dreams and get out of his head on alcohol and substances until he reaches his goals. This is the tale of a sixteen year old boy on a journey, facing the dilemmas of a teenage boy and some issues from his past. The book deals with a whole host of topics, drugs, sex, violence, auras, relationships and a whole lot more.

To be honest I have debated whether I should rate this a two or 3 star. The things I liked I really liked but the things I disliked really irked me. I found it hard to relate to the main character who seemed to morph between two people, the really deep thinking one and the teenage thug. I liked the Simian Lines part and read a little more on it when I got past that part as I hadn't heard of that before.

There was a lot of mish mash and I sometimes got a bit caught up and wanted there to be more focus. For example the drug dealer was dealt with at the start, a little in the middle and picked
up again at the end. Old Joe was a great part in the story but then his round up wasn't told in length just in passing through someone else. Initially I had thought this was going to be like an Irvine Welsh and it does have some of the undertones but I think I can honestly say I have never read anyone like this before.

The reason I decided to go with a three star instead of a two is purely because of the ending which I neither expected or guessed was coming. After Ben got out of hospital with his "attitude" I got really annoyed and was going to go with a two star rating, however as I said the ending was so unexpected it brought it back to a three.

If your looking for something chaotic, different, rough around the edges that has a deep undercurrent with a splash of everything in it then I would definitely recommend this book, 3 out of 5 for me this time.

I won this book as part of a giveaway over at you can read the full interview over there.

View all my reviews


  1. I know what you mean about that shocking ending, I wasn't expecting it at all. The simian lines aspect was definitely different. Great review!

  2. it's good to stop by your blog every now and then for some inspiration :)


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