Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Slam by Nick Hornby


by Nick Hornby
published 2007
completed September 2010

Slam is narrated by Sam, as an eighteen year old.  He is looking back on the past couple of  years to tell you his story.  At  fifteen things finally seemed to be going well.  He was a skater (skateboarder, not to be confused with ice skater) on the path to college, things seemed to be going well with his single mother, and he had a beautiful girlfriend Alicia.  One poor decision results in a pregnant girlfriend and a life changed forever.

Hornby nails the male teenage voice.  It is the perfect mix of naïveté, self-centeredness, and arrogance.  Sam is a trustworthy narrator and you get a glimpse into what it feels like for the boy who gets a teen girl pregnant.  It’s not a common perspective and it really opened my eyes.

This book is not preachy and for that I applaud Hornby.  It is not melodramatic, but realistic and extremely effective.  It doesn’t get into the options of abortion, adoption or keeping the baby.  It is briefly mentioned but the characters make the decisions and I never felt like Hornby had an agenda.  It simply made me think of the affects of teen pregnancy on the mother, father, the child, and the extended family.  It is a mess for everyone.

Slam is not an emotional book as you would expect of a book with this subject matter.  I found myself laughing at times, at times uncomfortable with Sam’s choices, and a little sad of what he had to deal with, but I was never near tears.  As a mother, it made me reflect on my own children.  I would never want them to have to deal with issues like these as teenagers.

I really enjoyed Slam.  It was a quick read.  If you enjoy Hornby, I would recommend it.  I’ve heard this is one of his least popular books, and if that is true, I’m looking forward to reading more of his works.


  1. Sounds like Hornby just told the story rather than had an agenda to disguise in the form of a story.

  2. I've never read any of Hornby's work, but so many people rave about it, I feel like I should give it a try.