Scratching the “itch”


Just now and again, I’ll read something that’s not intended for me. This book is written for those who are in early secondary education (I think it would be fair to say that the intended group are 10-15years old), but, as I have not yet grown up, I comfortably fit with the target demographic.

Simon Mayo is well known as a radio presenter and I have listened for many years and more recently to him as the presenter of the film review on BBC 5 live, on which he does a reasonable job of preventing Mark Kermode from becoming slightly too self-indulgent (hard to stop it would seem). In his first book we see a lot of the fast wit and clever thought at least equal to Horowitz.

Our main character: “itchingham Lofte” has recently found himself moved to Cornwall and having a struggle to fit in. There are the usual young adult concerns shoe-horned into the plot and the not-so-untypical hobby of a loner. In his case it is collecting the elements of the periodic table. This he does in a very believable and slightly ad-hoc manner, which also seems quite realistic. So far all so good. There is a distinctly switch in pace once he acquires a rock which has some unusual characteristics. This triggers a deeper plot line involving the politics of energy and the means of business of global capitalism. I struggled to decide if simon Mayo went slightly too far with this but in the end I ran with it and just accepted it for what it is: good fun. So much so, I’ve bought the sequel!

As a teen boy/ young adult book it is all good wholesome fare (if a little implausible it none the worse for that). It probably ‘reads’ a little younger than perhaps the target at which it is aimed and I would wholeheartedly recommend this for boys aged 9-12 who are good and avid readers.

Very very enjoyable.

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