Bought Feb 2006 (oops) (Waterstones, as a Liz and Matt read)

I’ll post Matt’s review first, as mine responds to it…

Matt:
This is a book very much in two halves. The first half is told from the third person and chronicles the growing up of two boys, one black and one white, in the 1970s. Whilst somewhat derivative, evoking The Wonder Years and Stand By Me to name but two, this half is nevertheless evocative of its era and successfully portrays the racial and cultural melting pot prevalent at that time.

The central conceit of super powers is however only partially explored and does not seem central or essential to the plot.

The second half is told mostly from the 1st person perspective of the white protagonist of the first half but fully grown and set in 1999.

Sadly this half is much less successful and the story descends rapidly into an unstructured mess of delinquency and drug taking which to be fair also threatens the first half as well.

The book also peters out by the end rather than finishing on a triumphant high which is a shame given the strong first half.

Liz:
Unlike Matthew, I preferred the (music journalism parts of the) 2nd/3rd parts. This book was on the whole a bit formulaic and stereotyped; though I liked Abe, the contrasts beween the 2 fathers were a bit forced, and the descriptive and discursive writing, esp at the beginning and end, a bit self conscious and over mannered. The superhero part felt bolted on and a bit silly. A good discussion read though!