Daily Archives: August 7, 2009

Review: Slam by Nick Hornby

SlamMy rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed Slam, but I’m not quite sure who the target audience is.

Teenage girls trying to understand a guys point of view? Teenage boys? Adults?

Just when everything is coming together for Sam, his girlfriend Alicia drops a bombshell. Make that ex-girlfriend—because by the time she tells him she’s pregnant, they’ve already called it quits. Sam does not want to be a teenage dad.

There’s only one person Sam can turn to—his hero, skating legend Tony Hawk. Sam believes the answers to life’s hurdles can be found in Hawk’s autobiography. But even Tony Hawk isn’t offering answers this time—or is he? In this wonderfully witty, poignant story about a teenage boy unexpectedly thrust into fatherhood, it’s up to Sam to make the right decisions so the bad things that could happen, well, don’t.

I’ve enjoyed the other books I’ve read by Nick Hornby. This had a very similar feel to those, which is probably part of why I liked it.

The Tony Hawk gimmick wasn’t as intrusive as I feared it would be.  I actually liked it.

Sam was a great character, and the reason the book worked. He sounded like a teenage boy– a good kid, not terribly motivated, but pulling his life together none-the-less. He and his girlfriend Alicia get in over their heads with a sexual relationship. The progression (or lack thereof) within their relationship was very real.

Sam’s reaction to learning of the possibility of Alicia’s pregnancy was classic. He ran, and kept running– but he came back. He carried on through the book, always consistent with his character.

The other characters were more mixed. Alicia didn’t have the same realism– I frequently didn’t quite understand her behavior. We were seeing it through Sam’s eyes, and he didn’t understand her either.

Seeing through Sam’s eyes kept us from seeing depth in the other characters. I appreciate this about the book, while wishing they had been fleshed out better.

In the end, I think this weakened the book a little for me.


Posted by on August 7, 2009 in books, reviews


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