Saturday 7 September 2013

Fear Week, by Andrew McBurnie

Fear Week, by Andrew McBurnie

It's 1962, the week of the Cuban missile crisis, and the world is threatened by nuclear war. Teenager Adrian Thorby is about to experience a week of embarrassing and comic incidents, but he's scared. He's a science-fiction fan who fears he will never live to see a futuristic world of high technology, including space travel and robots, and will never have a girlfriend.
The seven days of the novel depict a family living under the threat of nuclear war in a family that is still flattened from WW2 bombing. Despite the menace, Adrian's parents and everyone else continue with their lives as if everything is normal. This behaviour is a mystery to Adrian, who is also dealing with awkward sexual problems and with falling in love.
I was sent Fear Week by Andrew McBurnie, the author, in exchange for an honest review. The plot appealed to me as I'd never heard of, let alone read anything about the Cuban missile crisis, and I wanted a chance to learn about that and the Cold War.

The story centres around Adrian Thorby and the events that happen to him over the week of the Cuban missile crisis. His age is never mentioned, but I'd put it at around 13. The tension between America and Russia is affecting Hull in 1962, but those aren't the only things that worry Adrian that week.

Generally, when starting a book I read as little of the blurb as possible, so I was a little shocked when, on the second page, there's the line:
"He felt his willy twitching..."
Don't get me wrong, it's realistic, but I hadn't been expecting it! There was more on this subject throughout the book, and at times it was somewhat awkward, but this was probably proportionate to the embarrassment Adrian was feeling!

McBurnie created really realistic relationships between the characters, whether Adrian's family or friends. I loved the sibling rivalry, and could really relate to the sense of panic Adrian's friend Tim and he felt when they 'lost' his brother's book.

It took me a little while to get into this, but once I did, I enjoyed it. It's a creeper! McBurnie captures the little things really well - fears about the nuclear threat, and family niggles, for example. I also thought that, once it got going, the story managed to evoke the history it was representing. The casual acceptance of caning in school helped with a lot of this, haha!


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