Stretch, 29, by Damian Lanigan

Frank Stretch graduated with a degree from Oxford but hasn't got very far in his life: no house of his own, no girlfriend, no money and a menial job. Using his own rating system, he scores only 29 out of 100 - less than most of his friends.

I think I read this because someone on Amazon said it was like Eight Minutes Idle, and it is very similar. Like that book, this is narrated in the first person by someone doesn't seem to have a lot going for him, and seems almost to revel in his lack of success. And despite the fact that he treats his friends like dirt, he retains them, to his surprise and to mine.

During the book Frank steadily slides down from his starting score of 29, insulting his friends, packing in his job, crashing at an old schoolfriend's house, being robbed while sleeping rough in London and finally getting beaten up by his old employer. The commentary on all of this is quite readable; Frank's views on his own situation and that of the people he meets, as well as the back-story of how his university girlfriend ruined his life are all interesting.

Unfortunately the ending spoils it as Frank inexplicably gets his act together and finds himself a job. It would have been better if the book had ended with him being discharged from hospital with no money and no friends.

Ok but nothing special.

Completed : 17-Nov-2004

[nickoh] [2004 books] [books homepage]