Submarine by Joe Dunthorne isn't a recent publication. This is a fine example of when a film does extremely well, becomes a cult classic, and turns all of the trendy theatre goers onto a book that, otherwise, may have remained a best kept secret by those of the literary world that discovered it on their own. Of course the point of this isn't to make you feel bad about finding a book through publicity. Some of us simply don't have the time or the patience to seek out books in the same way we do music, or movies. On spotify we have related artists. If only this was available in the literary world.
However, you're in luck now that the film has brought Dunthorne some recognition because, not only is it a book likened to that of 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' by Chbosky and 'Catcher in the Rye', it's a beautiful piece in its own right.
Set in the dreary landscape of wales it tells the very familiar story of a coming of age boy tackling the every day obstacles of trying to fit in, the perils of high school and the everyday downright horniess of a teenage boy. The book, like 'Catcher in the Rye', manages to shape these insecurities through the beautiful medium of first person narrative from Oli, the protagonist, who much like Holden, manages to be blunt and hilarious, sweeping us away with the charm of his story.
He's technically a man on a mission, attempting to lose his virginity before his sixteenth birthday. Now to female readers this may be alienating, or at least that's the thought that would spring to mind. However in all honesty which boy isn't thinking this as their sixteenth looms? Which teenager doesn't feel the burden of that pressure? Which makes the book, to everybody it would seem, entirely relatable. To adults they've already been through it, teenage girls are chasing boys just like Oli and teenage boys are just like him. All of us teens are going through everything Oli describes. Except he's recounting it with a better vocabulary.
Over all the book's stunning and well worth a read. A review of the film will be up here soon because I'm yet to see it.