“ Author: Kief Hillsbery / Genre: Fiction „
War Boy is the tale of a deaf mute skater named RadBoy and his disparate group of friends. It combines punk, drugs, skating, music, drugs, eco-politics and love. The story is told entirely from the main character's perspective. This works really well, although it is quite an unusual approach. One of the particularly brilliant things about this book is the way the that the author has really captured the way that Rad Boy thinks. There is a real back and forth element to it. Its difficult to describe but Rad Boy will think something, and will then refer straight back into it with the next sentence. Once you get used to this pattern it works really well. Rad Boy also has his own catchphrases that you really pick up on. The main characters in the book are : Rad Boy - The main character of the book. Rad Boy is a deaf mute punk skateboard freak who runs away from home with JonnyBoy after his dad tries to kill him when drunk. Rad Boy's family are well known through out the neighbourhood, although not for good reasons, and his dad may or may not have killed his mum, we never really know. JonnyBoy - Rad Boy's mentor and best friend. Was once a well known and respected pro skater. JonnyBoy is also a gay punk and a drug fiend...! Finn & Critter - Boyfriends that Rad Boy and JonnyBoy meet on their travels to San Francisco. Finn is a Northern Irish skinhead and Critter is a skinny punk. Both are major league drug fiends! Ula - A Swedish woman that Rad Boy and JonnyBoy also meet travelling to San Francisco. Her Russian husband recently died from Uranium poisoning and her eco-activist sister is in hospital following an explosion in her car. The only person in the book who isn't a drug fiend. Although she does take drugs a couple of times. Roarke - The lead singer of Chaotic Stature (A moderately well known rock band) and former paramour of JonnyBoy. Not really a main character as such
although he does play a very important part in the book. The book follows Rad Boy as he runs away from his violent home life with JonnyBoy. They head to San Francisco to see a Free Tibet gig (At which Chaotic Stature are playing) and on the way hook up with Finn, Critter and Ula. Once they get to San Francisco, Rad Boy lives with Finn & Critter for a while before he has his eyes opened to 'green' politics. He decides to use this new found knowledge against a company destroying a nearby Redwood forest and his friends all agree to help him. I don't want to give too much away after this, but the plot takes some dramatic turns towards its conclusion. There is a lot of drugs in this book. In the same way that Trainspotting is about heroin, this book is about crack. Although this book is about other things as well! Particularly skating. There are a number of really good skateboard scenes throughout the book. They are well done as they don't feel like they've been added in just to provide some credibility, they just flow naturally. At first I found the book quite hard going, partly because of the unusual way that its written and partly because of the adherence to sk8r slang. The book always refers to cool as 'kewl' and skaters as 'sk8rs' but then I suppose it does that to lend an air of authority. Or it might just be the fact that the writer is a full-blooded surfer and sk8r and wants to show what its like. Not being a skater myself I thought it was a bit contrived, but got used to it. Regardless, once I had got a little way into the book I found it hard to put down. The plot is so well defined that it draws you in. Recommended.
Fleeing his father, 14-year-old Radboy takes to the road with Jonnyboy, an older friend who has become the only person he trusts. When Jonnyboy drops out of sight, Radboy stays behind in San Francisco where the undergound world inspires his own burgeoning sexual and emotional desires.