An entertaining, provocative novel, a fresh look at male bonding and our sense of kinship, by a young, high-flying political consultant. Living in neighbouring houses on a tough estate in Lancashire, Adam and Kevin were childhood best friends.
Kevin - child of a problem family, revered fighter and footballer - was definitely the leader, while Adam - puny, bookish and sensitive - rode on the coat-tails of his dominating friend. However, Kevin's football career is wrecked by a knee injury, leaving him at 18 unemployed with a wife and two children to support.
He takes refuge in drink and drugs while Adam, complete with a new set of well-heeled friends, lands a high-flying job in London.
The stretch between Strangeways prison and the hallowed cloisters of Cambridge, between the estate's Working Men's Club and London media life, becomes too much for even the best of friends. But when Adam and Kevin lose the people that mean most to them, they - back in their home town again - are forced to confront what their roots really are and what means success to them - and in doing so they come to know what separates the men from the boys. Touching, funny and completely unputdownable, Philip Collins's novel of life, love and loss is the unforgettable story of a new generation. Peopled with wonderful characters and vivid scenes from closing mines to university quads, from unemployment centres and hopeless estates to the upwardly mobile, fast-stream Islington lifestyle, The Men From the Boys is also rich in the questions it poses.
Readers of Roddy Doyle, Tony Parsons and Nick Hornby will enjoy The Men From the Boys.