Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Review: "Pigeon English" by Stephen Kelman

I think I am just too old and mature to enjoy a book like Stephen Kelman’s Pigeon English. It comes off as too cutesy and a little saccharine for me, probably because I have matured as a reader in a rather short amount of time. I remember a time when a book like this could get me going and I could find myself totally enveloped in story of a youngster trying to understand a world that will never understand them. I think everyone who is actually intelligent will find some solace in books like these in there younger years, which would explain why some people still swear by, quite erroneously, in my opinion, by J. D. Salinger. I even remember the time I read Mark Haddon’s The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time in a single sitting with great joy. But now I find these kinds of books just leave me wanting more. Pigeon English begins with a murder and follows one boy’s quest to solve it. The boy in question, Harri, a recent immigrant from Ghana living in the London projects, begins to investigate, leading down dark paths into the immigrant underworld that might lead to his demise. I can at least appreciate the upbeat tone of this novel, which shows scary situations and teen violence through the lens of an innocent, naïve ten year old. It really is a breath of fresh air. But for all that I found the book rudimentary in what it was talking about, and some of the slang the kid uses, like bo-style to denote awesome, being very cheesy. It is hard to believe that this book was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, although I have my issues with that board, so maybe it’s not hard to believe. Blame it on reading The Savage Detectives beforehand, but this book is a harmless dud.
Rating: 2/5

No comments:

Post a Comment