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Starter for Ten by David Nicholls

Publisher: Villard


Date of Publish: January 1st 2003


Pages: 352


Genre: Comedy, Love


Recommendation for which gender: Unisex



This book is all about a young adult called Brian Jackson who is a working class member in society, in the year 1985. He comes from Southend, Essex and one of his favourite things is to answer questions on 'The University Challenge' hence why the title of the book is called 'Starter for Ten'. Starter for ten is the first set of questions that one of the teams must answer to answer more questions. Also giving them ten points if their question is indeed correct.
Brian Jackson is an English Literature student and unlike other students from the university, studied hard because he wanted to be there. Not because his parents are rich,which in fact they were not. His father also liked the T.V quiz, but he died before Brian even started attending University. This is also a point where Brian decides that he wants to go onto 'The University Challenge' is so that he can make his Dad proud, even when he is no longer breathing.
The main character is also a huge Kate Bush fan, so when he first sees Alice Harbinson for the first time, he describes Alice to resemble a lot like her. Unfortunately, his obssession with her did not end and therefore could be one of his main downfalls within the story. This inevitably begins when he gives her his answers in a test to go on the University Challenge team. Of course he never really was able to get on the team after that, due to Alice only beating him by a few questions. Thankfully for him this did not last for long, as he was able to join due to one of the members' injuries.


When i had finally gotten to the end of the novel, i found it very disappointing. To point it out straight, it was all to do with the ending. It was just so annoying - to be completely honest. This was because of the mistakes that he had made, it does not feel like he tried to correct them. Rather more like to run away from all of his problems. Unfortunately, most times in peoples lives, you can't run away from the obvious, you just have to plow ahead. It is kind of a disgrace, due to the fact that most people would have to carry on with their problems regardless, because otherwise it will not get you anywhere.
On the contrary, i found the elements of the University Challenge very interesting. So much so that now i have actually gotten a little more into the televised quiz myself. This is the most amazing thing about a single book, it can change your whole perception of the world and how it all works.

Rating: ***


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