First published, 2019

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

“I never knew my grandfather; he died years before my father’s sperm were even stretching out for the big race, and therefore I never had a male role model or father figure in my life… I mean, I did have my father, but he was an absolute bastard of a man. So maybe that’s why I turned out to be such a bad egg, or maybe it was due to my mother booming all 36 chambers of the Wu-Tang Clan as she attempted the housework, while I sat in my highchair inhaling R-rated hip-hop…”
1% in, #1 Tokyo Burning (Goof Troop), Fat Boy by Joseph Cobb

The story follows multiple characters from the crime-filled, seedy underbelly of south Somerset; from the childish hijinks of a pair of young brothers to a young woman taking over her father’s bike shop, and all manner of people in between. These disparate people are, however, linked and the story culminates in an explosive and satisfying finish.

Told in exquisite and clever prose, as well as poetic interludes, it takes a bit of following due to the large cast but it’s well worth a read.

There was a point where, as a woman, I almost lost all hope:

“Truth be told she had her eye on José but was doing that odd thing that most women do when they pretend they’re not interested in you and shrug off your friendly demeanour dismissively and abruptly as if you were a meaningless tool.”
42% in, #8 José Romario Cobos de la Bell (Latino Heat), Stay In Your Lane, Fat Boy by Joseph Cobb.

I mean, spare me. Why we teach boys that if a girl isn’t interested, keep trying, persistence pays, I may never know. If she’s not interested, move on, find someone who is. But then:

“‘But you know, just like a man, he believed my disinterest to be a sure sign of unequivocal lust. Wanker.'”
69% in, #11 Spank (Stick and Move), Castaway, Fat Boy by Joseph Cobb

Ah, there’s nothing like redemption. The relief is real.

An excellent novel.