A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
Before I heard Samuel L. Jackson read this post-modern self-help book in his deep, authoritative, GOD-like voice, I had: restless leg syndrome, sleep apnoea, delayed sleep phase syndrome, parasomnias, night terrors, nocturia, caffeine induced insomnia and somniphobia. After listening to this self-help book, I turned over, told my leg to "chill out motherf--ker" and went the f--k to sleep.
Amis can write the darkest satire with a lyrical heart that beats with warm, soft blood. 'Lionel ASBO' is sad, funny, gratuitous, sick and full of life. It is like Dickens was written by William Burroughs.
Covered in grit, the characters in this Amis novel seem at first like bizarre 21st century, Cruikshank caricatures that just keep bouncing back and forth in my head between the real, the surreal and the unreal -- so I keep on doubting my own palsied view of the world.
Anywho, this novel seems like a better-adjusted, less disquieting version of Amis' magnum opus 'Money'. Lionel ASBO has more heart, and just slightly less art. Amis traded a little of the floating world . . . for the heavy. Just please Jēz...us don't buy it for Grans.
Cute, probably 3.5 stars, but not nearly as good as the hype. I liked both 'American Gods' and 'Neverwhere' a lot better. I guess that is the problem with joint projects, I'm not sure whether Pratchett or Gaiman should be praised or panned for this book. Yes, it was funny. Yes, it was irreverent too. It just wasn't great. Perhaps, its limitations were built into the core concept and blueprint of the book. Perhaps, it couldn't escape mediocrity because it was pulled in two different directions by two good authors and instead of ending in Heaven or Hell it just plopped right there in the middle.
I just finished this book and it is one of the most insightful contemporary novels I've read recently.
That said, I sympathize with the readers who stopped listening after a couple of hours and gave it 1-2 stars as I would have. The beginning does seem like a simple retelling of adolescent banter and escapades that got irritating and old very quickly. I thought I'd misunderstood the description.
But I kept listening and found the book incredible. Murray's story presents the odd and at times unexplainable elements of human nature in a post-modern age. Who "wins" and who "gets ahead." And how many of us never really see what's truly going on -- even though we're 'good' people.
So, if you like cultural insights - and can accept the obnoxious, humorous, and tragic antics of both adolescents -- and adults. Then you may enjoy this book.