‘Submarine’ by Joe Dunthorne… A Hilarious, Dry Tale of Male Teen-hood.

Growing up is tricky for many. Hormones, so many hormones. Quite often, it seems that your parents do not remember what a hard, traumatic and, apparently for Oliver Tate (aged fifteen and a virgin), sexually-charged time teen-hood is.

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Joe Dunthorne presents this, his first novel, as a funny story about growing up as Oliver Tate: His parents are having a tough time; his dad is depressed, his mother is far too friendly with her hippy, surfing, (and unfortunately very nice) ex-boyfriend. As an important member of the family, Oliver Tate sees it in his best interests to get them back on track. No, more than that… it is his right, his business, he is their precious child after all… basically their only trophy of success.

Oliver is not dazzlingly attractive, but his intelligence does get him into trouble. His constant curiosity in words is entertaining and enlightening. His personal life and attraction to school girlfriend, and pyromaniac, Jordana, is a wonderfully honest and often surprisingly heartbreaking yet oddly laughable feature of the novel. He must loose his virginity before he is sixteen. He must do it well. He must last ten minutes, which he believes to be his father’s perfectly acceptable standard.

Joe Dunthorne allows us to explore this excessively personal and challenging period in Oliver Tate’s life. The dry humour and brutal honestly is wonderfully fresh (though it may be too graphic for some readers). Men will connect with it. Women will be endlessly curious with it. It is currently making the rounds with all of my friends. Find. Enjoy.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. A.PROMPTreply says:

    Hmm….when I saw the title of this post, I thought, Oh, a book I could share with my 15-year-old. Unfortunately, this is a bit more than I’m ready to have him read! However, it sounds fun…I might give it a go myself!

    1. fayelucinda8 says:

      It is wonderfully characterful. I would recommend reading before passing it on in case you think it might be a bit much, he can get quite detailed, but mostly in a thoughtful, clinical way. Let me know if you ever pass it along!

      1. A.PROMPTreply says:

        Will do!

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