Dec 02, 2013

Life! Death! Prizes! by Stephen May - Review

Rudderless on the cusp between teenage freedom and the responsibilities of adulthood, Billy Smith mourns his mother’s senseless death whilst trying to look after six-year-old brother Oscar and keep the family together.

The rhythms of Stephen May’s writing make comparisons with post-Fever Pitch Nick Hornby inevitable, if perhaps a little lazy.  His sentences are tight, the pace flawless, it comes as no surprise to learn that May has written for television.  L!D!P! is powered along by snappy, often humorous dialogue and built around set pieces, which makes it easy to imagine this as, say, a six-part TV adaptation.

Written in the first person, this is very much Billy’s account and it quickly becomes clear that he is quite an unreliable narrator.  But considering Billy is a nineteen year old thrown into a terrifying new life, it would be a bit unrealistic to expect him to have all the answers.

Instead there emerges an interesting voice that powers along a very readable story.