Sunday, August 17, 2014

Review: "Skagboys" by Irvine Welsh

I think it is safe to say that last week sucked. The death of Robin Williams seems to have shaken people to the core. And me, personally, have been dealing with personal issues with both friends and myself. And as silly as it sounds, it did not help matters that I suffered through two long books that were not any good at all, first Jia Pingwa’s Turbulence and now Irvine Welsh’s prequel to Trainspotting, Skagboys. I read the book back in 2010, when I was already a big fan of the movie when I read it. The book is not in the movie’s league by a long shot, but the unique vernacular was cool and it didn’t over stay it’s welcome. But in the 531 page Skagboys, it does and becomes torturous very quickly, with Welsh offering little relief to the put upon reader to catch his breath and gather themselves against it’s onslaught. The usual gang of merrily addicted heroin users is back again, but this time we get to see them at a bit younger age. But the disappointing thing is that it isn’t much different than how they were in Trainspotting: Sick Boy is still using people to get what he wants; Begbie is still a violent sociopath no one deserves to have as a friend, and Mark Renton is the soul of the group, and that is as horrifying as it gets. I always admired Welsh’s love for these people. They seem real and exist in a world that is entirely true and overwhelmingly oppressive. But it is old trick that he has used before, and on the other side of 50, Welsh needs to be plying his talents in more mature ways than this. He should have reigned in many of the speech patterns that he is known to use, and which make up 85% of this book, because it truly ruins the experience. I can’t recommend this book, but feel in shorter form and different topics; Welsh would be quite a reading experience.

Rating: 2/5

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