I was looking for a job and then I found a job, and heaven knows I’m miserable now… (Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, The Smiths)
Raymond Marks is the wrong boy. He didn’t start that way, once he was just an ordinary boy with an ordinary life but a bizarre series of events sends his life in a very unordinary direction. Now he is trying to get to Grimsby, where he doesn’t want to go, to start a job he doesn’t want to do, working for his “Uncle Bastard Jason” who he doesn’t like. The book is Raymond’s story, told in a series of letters written to his idol, Morrisey, lead singer of The Smiths.
There are many reasons for me personally to like this book. It is set in the 80s, in the north of England and the main character is a teenage boy obsessed with music. Pretty much me really. Plus there is a fair bit of psychology, particularly if you are interested in how you define abnormality and the pitfalls of diagnosis. And I really did like it. It’s very funny, has moments that are heartbreakingly sad, and is full of wonderful characters. Written by Willy Russell, who wrote “Our Day Out”, the book captures a time and place beautifully and is full of the weirdness of everyday life.
my favourite moment is when Raymond sings “Shoplifters of the world unite” to a convention of Grimsby small business owners. It doesn’t go down well!