Christopher Fowler's memoir captures life in suburban London as it has rarely been seen: through the eyes of a lonely boy who spends his days between the library and the cinema, devouring novels, comics, cereal packets - anything that might reveal a story.
Caught between an ever-sensible but exhausted mother and a DIY-obsessed father fighting his own demons, Christopher takes refuge in words.
His parents try to understand their son's peculiar obsessions, but fast lose patience with him - and each other.
The war of nerves escalates to include every member of the Fowler family, and something has to give, but does it mean that a boy must always give up his dreams for the tough lessons of real life?
Beautifully written, this rich and astute evocation of a time and a place recalls a childhood at once entertainingly eccentric and endearingly ordinary.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 304 pages
- Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
- Publication Date: 18/02/2010
- Category: Autobiography: general
- ISBN: 9780553820096
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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by nigeyb
This is the third consecutive book I have read by Christopher Fowler - and all have been very different. Paperboy is a memoir of Christopher Fowler's childhood in suburban London during the 1950s and 1960s. He was a lonely boy who spent his days between the library and the cinema, whilst devouring novels and comics.His family was very dysfunctional: a curious combination of the entertainingly eccentric, wilfully self-defeating and endearingly ordinary. Christopher Fowler perfectly captures the grim monochromatic world of post-war Britain before it became a more colour world from the late-1960s and, to an extent, broke free of the post-war world of tight-lipped austerity, stultifying conformity and thwarted ambition. Paperboy is far from perfect, and frequently felt meandering and lacking in focus, however there are more sections that are funny, charming, poignant and wise than anything else, and overall I enjoyed it. I'd say people who grew up in Britain in the 1950s, 1960s or 1970s would probably get more out of it as it's such a rich and astute evocation of an era that felt very familiar despite my being ten years younger than Christopher Fowler.
Review by ebeach
This is the finest memoir I have read in many many years .... probably ever. It's about a young man's development as a writer and the hardships and joys of a most uncommon young life. Throughout the book Mr Fowler offers guidance and advice to potential writers most often through the words of his mother and finally from himself at the end of this book His relationship with his father is sad but honestly told.I do wish I had come across Mr. Fowler's talent earlier. Still, I am looking forward to reading more and more books by Christopher Fowler.