The Former Boy Wonder
By Robert Graham
One for the music fans! One for those interested in father/son relationships. One for those interested in a story with a midlife crisis within it. Check The Former Boy Wonder out the blurb and my review of The Former Boy below.
Thanks to Isabelle Kenyon and Lendal Press for inviting me to review on the closing spot for the blog tour and for a copy of the book.
A bittersweet comedy that takes a sidelong look at first love, mid-life crisis and the
challenges of the relationship between fathers and sons.
With his 50th birthday approaching and his career in tatters, Peter Duffy is hard at work trying to
repair his marriage when an invitation arrives in the post. Caitlin, one of his university friends, is
having a party at the country house where he met his first love, the exotic Sanchia Page. If all his old friends are going to be there, there’s a slim chance that – just maybe – she will, too. Faced with this possibility, re-living his time with Sanchia threatens to turn his head and ruin all his good intentions.
Set in the new Manchester of the 21st century and the old Manchester of 25 years before,
The Former Boy Wonder takes a wry look at mid-life men and the women who have to live with them.
Take a pinch of nostalgia from the 1970’s and 1980’s, mixed with more closer to present times – the twenty-teens and you have the timeline for The Former Boy Wonder, with the toys, the sweets and the music. The fun of the eras is intertwined with hardship. From near the start, there is a big pang of sadness, that immediately makes you sympathise and empathise with life situations, along with a more cool vibe of celebrities of the time and fashion magazines, such as Vogue.
Peter Duffy is 49 years old and his career as a music journalist is flat-lining, from its once hugely successful years of being around the big bands and A-list stars. He’s reached a certain age and having a bit of a mid-life crisis and the work that used to come his way, isn’t the same and no-longer is he seen as the young hot-shot journalist he once was.
The music scenes are entertaining with so many bands and artists, but also shows an interesting contrast of how it was in Belfast, Northern Ireland compared to Manchester, England. The enthusiasm really shines through.
Life and love and fatherhood is complicated, bringing more drama and sometimes humour and warmth. One of the big, powerful themes is that of a father-son relationship and readers can see this develop and will be able to totally relate to the teenage attitude.
The Former Boy Wonder keenly observes all aspects of life throughout the decades and how things change, how people are percieved, change when they age up. It’s very much like looking into someone else’s world with a full, unobstructed view, with everything documented and emotions drawn.
About the Author
Robert Graham is the author of the novel Holy Joe; the short story collections The Only Living Boy and When You Were a Mod, I Was A Rocker; and the novella A Man Walks Into A Kitchen. His play about fans of The Smiths, If You Have Five Seconds To Spare, was staged by Contact Theatre, Manchester. He is co-author, with Keith Baty, of Elvis – The Novel, a spoof biography; and, with Julie Armstrong, Heather Leach, Helen Newall et al, of The Road To Somewhere: A Creative Writing Companion; Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Creative Writing; and How To Write A Short Story (And Think About It). He grew up in Northern Ireland and for most of his adult life has lived in Manchester. He teaches Creative Writing at Liverpool John Moores University. For more information please see http://www.robertgraham.life and follow Robert on Instagram @robert55graham