Here’s another winner for teenage boys from Barrington Stoke. It poses the question: if you were a boy suddenly smitten by an unforeseen romantic yearning, where might you turn for reliable advice? For all his fourteen years, Marv has found sufficient excitement in football, male friendship, and the occasional trip to the cinema. Then Carly Stonehouse moves into his street, his class, and, most disconcertingly, his heart. Marv has no idea how he might even say hello to Carly, let alone get her to consider him as boyfriend material. Then along comes an unexpected love guru, the ghost of American soul legend, Otis Redding. This is a bonkers idea to start with, and add to it that ghost Otis has a northern accent and an appetite for even the saddest and grubbiest slice of pizza, then Marv is in for some toe curlingly embarrassing moments as he follows the advice of this unlikely matchmaker. Marv suffers badly for the reader’s amusement. It’s even his best friend who ends up snogging Carly. For those of us of the same gender who have moved beyond that stage of life and longing, it may be all too familiar, as it may be to those who are the subject of such inept wooing. But, with Marv as a slightly older and wiser narrator, Phil Earle plays it unerringly for laughs. He makes sure that his hero eventually comes to terms with the knock backs, and we leave Marv making friends with a new girl on a bus. Like Marv, she knows that the living Otis Redding was the king of Soul, even if she is blissfully unaware that his ghost turned out to be mostly rubbish at romance. Soul fans may also take solace in the fact that long-suffering Marv shares his name with another soul legend best known as the writer of Sexual Healing, although the self-obsessed lyrics of that song suggest that the ghost of Marvin Gaye might have been even more unreliable as a love guide.
http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png 0 0 Andrea Reece http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png Andrea Reece2024-01-15 22:00:262024-01-15 22:00:26Northern Soul