4 out of 4 stars
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In his book In A Council Estate, Far Far Away... John E. Statham combines two stories. The first one is about a teenager, Billy Wiggott, growing up in the seventies, living in a council estate, going to high school, and running. He is very good at running, but less so at academic stuff. The second story talks about a spacecraft with aliens visiting our galaxy, getting in trouble, and crash-landing on earth. The aliens performing the crash-landing are Garok and Trudan. Billy, Garok, and Trudan meet and develop a bond. The author provides us with the viewpoints of each of the main characters, against a background of important happenings of the time. He includes details about living circumstances, popular music, the moon landing, and running events.
There are so many things I like about this book. First of all, the author adds a lot of humor to this book. It already starts with the very first sentence of the introduction, which puts a smile on my face. The funny comments and jokes continue to appear at unexpected moments throughout the book.
I also love the numerous typos and grammatical mistakes. It takes some getting used to since they look like genuine errors left after a round of poor editing. However, they are included on purpose; the author intends to write in the style of a young adult who is less than proficient in English. He shows a lot of creativity coming up with different ways of reflecting the teenager's clumsy brain using spelling mistakes. At the same time, language is an integral part of the humor mentioned above. I want to give one example, where the aliens 'are talking through a demise that is late in trans' - also known as a translator.
Further, the book has a lot of unexpected plot twists. In particular, one is a real brainteaser, making me rethink the first part of the book and how I imagined things. I will not say more about this to avoid giving away spoilers.
There is only one thing I like a bit less. On one or two occasions, there is a contradiction in the story. The contradictions are small and do not influence the flow of the story, but it bothers me a bit when Billy puts an item on the dining table before going to bed and waking up the next morning having that same item in his bedroom.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I can recommend this book to anyone who likes reading humorous light stories with a sci-fi element, dated half a century ago. There is no adult content, and hardly any profanity. As mentioned, the book is full of errors, but since this is done on purpose, I did not deduct any points for that.
In A Council Estate, Far Far Away...
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