Socks are not Enough

Socks are not Enough; Mark Lowery; Scholastic; 2 Feb 2012

Book summary (taken from Amazon UK): Mike Swarbrick’s life couldn’t get any worse. His pervy best friend gets him embroiled in a scandal involving the girls’ changing rooms, his idiot of an older brother is snogging the girl of his dreams and he’s just come home early from school to discover his parents are secret nudists . . . but they’re ready to go public! A chain of events beyond his control are set to RUIN HIS LIFE. But instead, his teachers think that he’s having trouble \”dealing with his feelings\”. The result is that Mike’s forced to meet with the school councillor who thinks that a \”cool\” university professor can fix his problems. And so begins Mike’s \”Chats with Chas\” which really are as humiliating and cringe-worthy as they sound…

Literature for Lads review:
Described as “Adrian Mole meets the Inbetweeners” Socks are Not Enough by debut author Mark Lowery is just as heart wrenchingly embarrassing as Adrian Mole and as hilarious, albeit a little less crude, as the Inbetweeners. It’s a great combination of teenage angst, desire, farce and will keep you in stitches from the first to last page.

The book opens with a list of the ten bad things that have happened to our main character Michael Swarbrick in the last three weeks. At number one is the fact that his parents ‘decided to stop wearing clothes.’ This in turn triggers a number of events which result in Mike meeting the school counsellor on a regular basis. And so the scene is set for Mike to share with us his thoughts and feelings.

The lists continue as a feature throughout the book as Mike lays bare to us the many facets of his teenage angst.  However it’s not just lists that allow us to see the inner workings of Mike’s mind.  The book is also littered with footnotes, (who would ever think these would work in a teenage novel) which are full of hilarious anecdotes on Mike’s life.

Not only do we see lists and footnotes used as a medium for Mike to explain what’s happening in his life but we are also treated to the session transcripts from his meetings with a university psychologist.  Written in explicit detail these once again prove that with the right language and ideas, it’s amazing what we as the reader can find funny.

Lowery doesn’t just have a book full of unusual writing styles it’s also full of characters who are engaging and believable.  Best friend Paul with the wild imagination, University Psychologist Chas who tries maybe just a little too hard to be cool and older brother Steve, the Stevenator who is the local ‘ladies man’. Each features in Mike’s musings on the state of his life at the moment, often in hilarious situations, and sometimes in situations which will have you cringing with embarrassment, never mind Mike.

This is a hilarious debut novel from Mark Lowery.  It’s full of both laugh out loud moments and points where you will find yourself snickering behind you hands.  In amongst the lists, footnotes and laughter Lowery has written a great story which moves along at a good pace and will have you reading ‘just one more chapter’ every time you pick the book up.  This book will leave a smile on your face but you may find that you can never quite look at a box of Coco Pops in the same way again!

Marks out of 10: 9

Make sure and check the blog tomorrow where we will have an exclusive guest post from none other than Michael Swarbrick himself. He will be telling us what he got up to on National Libraries Day…

Plus on Wednesday we will be launching a Socks are Not Enough giveaway – full details Wednesday!
Here is the trailer for the book…

Main character Michael Swarbrick is on Facebook and Twitter
Michael Swarbrick Facebook
Michael Swarbrick Twitter
For more information on the author Mark Lowery click here