Sunday, 4 January 2015

Colin Preston Rocked And Rolled by Bert Murray

Colin Preston Rocked and Rolled is the story of a nineteen year old boy’s fall semester at college. Employing first person narrative, Bert Murray has created a voice that is both credible and engaging. On the surface, it would seem that, as a middle aged woman, I’d have little in common with a self-obsessed, whiney teenage boy. The truth is though we’ve all been mired in teenage melodrama at one time or another so it’s not difficult to identify with Colin. The strength of the novel, for me, is how Murray manages to create the almost claustrophobic atmosphere of a college campus; a sort of world within a world, where every event takes on a heightened sense of importance and urgency. When Colin’s romance with his dream girl, Jasmine, collapses, his whole world implodes and, the same obsessive compulsion that fuels his love of the Beatles and in particular John Lennon, latches onto Jasmine and what might have been. There is a lot of humour in the novel especially where Colin’s self indulgence is concerned and his relationship with jock friend, Karl. However, there are also moments of real poignancy such as Murray’s portrayal of Chester, a sensitive boy whose fragile hold on the world slips into mental illness and Mrs Vesquez, a teacher who views Colin as a surrogate son whilst grieving for the loss of her own boy. Colin Preston Rocked and Rolled is a fast flowing read which you won’t want to put down and there are some real laugh out loud moments as we are reminded of the folly of youth.

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