Ian M. Pinder
"In 1996, just before university, Robert and his best friend Spud hedonistically set off around Europe in their neighbour’s stolen car, with the £28,000 they have `acquired,’ forged documents, no insurance and class A’s under the bonnet."
It’s appropriate that I find myself reviewing this book at the start of the new year. A time when we’re all coming down from our turkey highs and vowing to lose weight. It’s appropriate because, if ever a book needed to lose weight….it would be this one.
Here’s my main problem with Hoofing It, once you’ve read through the first quarter of the book, you’ve basically read the whole thing. It feels incredibly padded out, each chapter falling into pretty much the same pattern of events.
Our two main characters, Robert and Spud turn up in a new town in their stolen car, book into some grotty, cheap accommodation, snort some coke, take some E’s and head out to the club, pick up girls, sleep with girls, return to accommodation, jump into car and head off to the next town.
That’s not to say there’s some variations on this formula, there are, the most interesting of which are the only moments in the novel that seem to suggest that this lifestyle may not be the best of choices as Rob and Spud witness a girl they’ve fallen in with shoot heroin and another where a character suffers an overdose.
For the most part though, it’s just the same thing over and over again, the book just feels over long and over padded. A good few chapters of the book could have been excised completely without affecting the plot at all.
Those rare chapters that don’t fall into this rinse and repeat narrative aren’t much better. There are several, smaller chapters in which nothing happens at all. Even the main characters themselves reflect on this with sentences along the line of “Not much happened in Barcelona, we just stayed in”.
I guess these were included to break up the monotony but sadly they just further pad out the book and could do with trimming down.
It may sound like I’m being overly critical, and I may be, but it’s because I really wanted to love this book.
I really liked the characters of Robert and Spud. The best scenes in the book where the calm moments where the two characters are driving alone, joking, reminiscing and tossing crap CDs out the window. When Pinder let’s the excess wear off and let the characters get talking, the book’s a delight. It’s just a shame these calm moments come so infrequently.
This book is the first in a trilogy which Pinder says will follow Robert throughout his life, the idea being that as he goes through life, his character changes making him essentially a different character in each novel.
I actually really like this idea, and if the next book can tone down the excess as Robert matures I think the series could really have something. I’ve a feeling that this might end up working better as a trilogy than as a single story and I’ve faith enough in the good elements of the novel to pick up book two in the series.
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review