Author: Joe Dunthorne
Pages: 304 (Paperback)
Genre: Young Adult
Age Recommendation: 15+
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
“I took a photo of us, mid-embrace. When I am old and alone I will remember that I once held something truly beautiful.”
Submarine is written from the point of view 15 year old Oliver Tate. His father is depressed, his mother is having an affair and Oliver goes on an extremely misguided adventure to bring the family back together. Meanwhile, Oliver is also trying to lose his virginity to his pyromaniac girlfriend Jordana before he turns 16.
If you’ve read any of John Green’s books or The Perks of Being a Wallflower, these are the first books I would compare Submarine to. It’s a short book with small chapters. The main character Oliver is too smart for his own good and it can be hilariously funny at times. It’s also deep – Oliver is a sensitive character who loves learning about fears and often thinks about his own death and how people will react to it. However that doesn’t mean that if you like Looking For Alaska that you’d like Submarine. Submarine is strange!!! The content is strange and Oliver’s mind is even stranger; sometimes even a little scary. I loved reading about Oliver’s family life but was always a little bit disturbed by the details of his sex life.
I had to study the film adaption of Submarine for my film course at college and I absolutely loved it. It was quirky and weird and funny and I could not get enough of it. I went home, introduced it to my sister Sinead and she discovered the original book and started reading it. Now – Sinead adores the book. I mean she LOVES it. She leant it to me and I was probably a little disturbed by the end of it. I think it just depends on exactly how quirky you are. Sinead is the kind of person who would probably be friends with Oliver and understand him. I am probably the kind of person who would have a laugh with him but secretly feel a little worried about his sanity. It is definitely worth a read if you think you’re crazy enough.
Film adaption: The movie is excellent. It was released in 2010 and directed by The IT Crowd’s Richard Ayoade. It’s definitely worth a watch if you have the time or even if you just want to get an idea of what to expect from the book. (Just keep in mind the book is 10 times stranger!)