Books for Teens · Books that have film Adaptations · Companion Books for TV / Film

Submarine by Joe Dunthorne

My thoughts were mixed when I’d finished reading this book.

It’s essentially a ‘coming-of-age’ story about a 15-year-old boy, Oliver Tate, who writes a diary detailing his family life – his dad is depressed, his mum is keen on her capoeira teacher, the family is falling apart…and Oliver has ambitions to lose his virginity. It’s a standard story about a character’s journey to maturation – what do you expect? This is probably marketed as a teen novel but I don’t think it is, because the foray into a teen boy’s mind is a journey that should not be taken light-heartedly.

As soon as Dunthorne had his male protagonist get involved with bullying the fat character I knew I would just dislike him for his carelessly cruel nature. There were also moments when he did come across as incredibly egocentric.
However, the book did have moments of dark humour but ultimately didn’t charm me. The ability to write in the voice of a 15-year-old boy is good, but hardly commendable.

At the end of it all, it was good book but a bit voyeuristic. Maybe I’ll see the film one day, but the idea doesn’t enthrall me especially. The ending of the book left the story open-ended, which gives us the reader some quasi-hope for the future of Ollie and his story.

MY RATING: *** / *****

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