Friday, November 04, 2011

REVIEW: Naked by Kevin Brooks

Oh how much did I adore Naked by Kevin Brooks?! If I'm honest, I was slightly worried about it beforehand. Even though I'm becoming an increasingly bigger fan of Kevin Brooks with each of his novels that I read, I was still a little bit wary about reading a book set in the late 1970s AND a book about punk rock. Mostly because I wasn't born in the late 70s and have almost no knowledge of punk rock.

Even so, I loved this book to bits. Kevin Brooks knows enough about the punk music scene in the summer of 1976 and has enough passion for telling this story that his enthusiasm for it has seeped into these pages, into these characters and into the story to make it irrelevalent that I knew nothing about punk beforehand. The characters of Lili and Billy the Kid, and of Curtis and their band felt fully formed. As I was reading Naked it really felt like *I* was there, that I became part of this wonderful story, sharing these personal moments between Lili and Curtis in the early part of their relationship, or the beginning days of Lili joining this punk band. Getting to know Billy the Kid. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Before all that, we have Lili. This sort of weird and quirky girl who has an interest in music, mostly classical music. And as she's playing the piano,Curtis walks into her life. Of course she's known OF Curtis for ages, he's cool and good-looking and she didn't think that he would ever have noticed her. But he did, and he thinks she'd be great as the new bass player in his band, Naked. And while Curtis helps Lili learn to play bass guitar as well as the band's songs, it feels inevitable that the chemistry between the two turns into something more. I loved read about this part of the book the most. When Lili's new relationship with Curtis and her introduction into the band feels so new exciting and special.

Because it doesn't always feel that way. While Kevin Brooks always delivers these wonderful descriptive passages about the atmosphere and how it feels to be playing punk music at gigs all over London, how people respond to Curtis' lyrics and behaviours and the giddiness and excitement of playing live-music, there's also the downward spirals of drug-taking and alcohol. There's violence and unreliability. Curtis seems to throw himself into this new punk scene where The Sex Pistols and other bands and leading figures are becoming more controversial and extreme. And then there's Billy the Kid. This mysterious boy who walks into Lili's life, joins the band, plays the guitar beautifully and changes Lili's life forever.

This is really such a brilliant book. I can't stress enough how much I loved it. There was such a great energy and passion about it. I felt very strongly about the characters right from the start, and was even starting to feel a little bit anxious as Curtis revels more and more in this dangerous and destructive lifestyle. While there's this sense of impending doom, I still so desperately wanted everything to work out OK. Especially for Lili.

I love, love, loved this book. And I cannot recommend it enough.

11 comments:

  1. Wonderful review - you've really made me want to read this!

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  2. Thanks Luisa, I hope you do read it and that you love it as much as I did! :)

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  3. Brilliant review, I think you're going to be responsible for a little sales spike for this one!

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  4. Jenni - I sincerely hope so! Fab book.

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  5. I really cant wait to read this one! its sat on my tbr just waiting to be read! :D

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  6. Raimy - Ooh, get to it soon then we can talk about it :)

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  7. Wow, this does sound amazing! I love your review!

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  8. Kevin Brooks can do no wrong in my eyes - love him.

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  9. Cliona - Thank you! It's a great book.

    Sophie - Aww, fantastic. I really want to read every one of his books, I've enjoyed all of them so far :)

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  10. Hi Clover, thanks for the review. Would you give me your opinion on age group for this book? In relation to the sex and drugs part, would it be ok for a young teenager?
    Thanks!

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  11. Magali - I always struggle with age range recommendations! I don't remember the sex being explicit.. but there is language? and drug use? I probably wouldn't recommend it to a younger teenager.

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