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Be careful with your betting! Be warned..........
Member Name: Boonoiy
Date: 07/03/02, updated on 29/11/04 (64 review reads)
Advantages: Funny, Interesting
We're told that it is a book about men's obsessions and why their women put up with them, the story is all about Andy and Rachel and Andy's second love (well, first really) The Tube. This straight away grabs those of us who live in London and regularly use the Tube, as far as I'm concerned there is very little about it to become obsessed with or to even like never mind LOVE?!? So there we are, for those in London it's a novel which will certainly deal with a part of London with which you are familiar and for those on the outside it is about something which is strange and alien but which may have crossed your path at some point.
This book should appeal to both the men and the women out there as it has both points of view (come on lads, admit it, we're all obsessed by something.....aren't we?) and explores the type of relationship that a great many people have and I'd say most are familiar with.
So onto the plot:
Quite simply Andy has made a mistake - he's got in too deep and has wagered his entire future happiness on something which seems like a good idea at the time. Unfortunately the time is 2 nights before his wedding and the bet is to travel the whole length and bredth of the London Underground the following day.
Andy is a Tube buff, absolutely mad on all aspects of the Underground and, aside from his work and home life, spends his time with other enthusiasts talking about their love. Rolf is one of these mates and also totally besotted with Andy's girlfriend - he sets the bet and the whole thing is set in motion.
Rolf has a lot of tickets for the Tube (a collection, if you will) and Andy has Rachel - each wants the other and the bet is made. Obviously
gambling his actual girlfriend is not on the cards for Andy and it is not even sugested by Rolf but the chance to be with her and continue with his life is what he ends up gambling. Friday morning comes and the journey starts, Andy has to collect the things he needs as he travels through the system and this is where his life is in the balance - his honeymoon tickets, his passport and credit card, his hotel reservations, a ticket for the Eurostar and his travelcard are all over London and, as he needs them all to get to the wedding on Saturday he'll need to travel to each and every station for the clues and the goods.
He begins at Morden, he knows where his credit card is and will follow the clues from there.
At Morden he picks up his companion for the day, a 60 year old tramp called Brian and tries to shake him for the next few hours before accepting him as his travel companion and appreciates the company.
So he has to get round, taking a photo of each station as he goes and get to Waterloo for 1am to head for his wedding. Will he make it? Will Rolf get his way and keep his treasured Tube tickets and split the happy couple up? Will Rachel still want Andy after all the hassle and his dodgy attitude to the upcoming wedding?
Read it and see....
My views on this:
I thought this was a great book, I was drawn to it after seeing the adverts pasted all over the tube last November and deciding to redeem some of my ipoints - I was well pleased with it. A debut novel by a brilliant storyteller. It's a fast paced book, lots of little bylines and additional information. We find out all about Andy's childhood and his meeting with Rachel, his stupid friends and the beginnings of his obsessive nature. The story dots about a bit, from Andy to Rachel then back to Andy's childhood and his family history: This is all done seemlessly.
At the start of each chapter we get a l
ittle list of times and places - 5.08 a.m. Morden to Colliers Wood, Northern Line - so we know all the times of trains and lines followed, we can go "Ooh, he's near my house now" as we read through and it's a good little introduction to each chapter.
The characters are all brilliantly introduced and developed, their history and personalities are appealing and interesting to read about. We feel sorry for just about everyone in this book, Rachel for having to put up with Andy, Andy for having such an obsession, Rolf who has nothing but the Tube and jealousy of Andy in his life and Brian as he's a down-and-out. All sides can be sympathised with.
The Tube can be very interesting, it's obvious that Keith Lowe knows a great deal of trivia about it and is a little obsessed himself. The facts that Andy comes out with are very obscre and nobody but a genuine Tube buff would seek them out, I learned quite a bit about my daily journeys from this book and this will be the same for any Londoner.
In a sentence: A great book: gripping, interesting and funny - a must for Londoners and lovers of comedy novels everywhere.
£6.99 from your local bookstore :)