Grow Up by Ben Brooks is a dirty, dirty book. It is a wonderfully filthy book.
I think I might have to buy it.
The only things the teenagers in this book know how to do are drink, do drugs, do each other and then wake up to do it all over again. My liver hurts just from reading how much alcohol they consume at a party (or on a Tuesday afternoon after school for that matter…if they went to school at all.) These are the kind of teens that surprise you when you hear they made it to 30.
I found a generation of charming slackers in Ben Brook’s novel set in present day England. I didn’t even know slackers could be charming. Here’s what you need to know:
1) 17-year-old Jasper and his friends get high. Daily. Sometimes hourly.
2) Jasper wants to finish his novel.
3) Jasper wants to make sure his best friend doesn’t commit suicide.
4) Jasper wants to find out he’s not a father because of a drunken (and very blurry) encounter with a school friend.
5) Jasper wants to have sex with a girl he knows is perfect for him.
Then there’s Jonah, Tenaya and Ping, his best friends, who come with their own set of woes and whom Jasper guides through the big and small hurdles of being 17, even if it’s a drug-addled 17.
Most of all, Jasper wants t the world to know his stepfather is a wife-killer:
I am certain Keith is a murderer. If you look at his history close enough, you can see that his ex-wife seems to just disappear, benefiting him in the process.
I’m from the Generation X era (although what a letter of the alphabet has to do with being a miserable teenager is beyond me) while Jasper’s generation is known as Generation Facebook. They all may seem to be nothing but a bunch of aimless idiots, but they wonder what they’re going to do with their lives once they graduate high school.
I’m 35 and am still asking myself what I want to do with my life. No seriously, I have no clue. At the end of this hilarious novel not one of the characters knows what they’ll be doing in 5 years and I liked that fact. I didn’t want a nice tidy ending because, let’s face it, life is neither nice or tidy.
So if you find yourself meandering through life (at the age of 35 or 80) not knowing who you are or where you’ll l be in the next five years, you’ll love Grow Up. But I’d avoid the whole drugs and alcohol scene unless you don’t mind having only two brain cells to rub together.