Saturday, 7 January 2017

Book Review: Suburb by Steven Kedie

Title: Suburb

Author: Steven Kedie

Pages: 152 pages

Publication: 11th April 2014 by Kickstone Publishing

Reason for reading: Thank you to Steven Kedie for providing me with his ebook in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads Synopsis: Tom Fray leaves university with a simple plan; get a job, save some money and go travelling. 

To put his plan into action he moves home to the suburbs of Manchester where he finds the people he left behind all stuck in the same routines as when he went away. 

Feeling trapped between his old and new lives, Tom is desperate to escape. Then he meets Kate, a married neighbour and his simple plan becomes a lot more complicated.


When I spoke to Steven at the Manchester Book Bash, his book caught my attention because it sounded like something I could relate to - I am currently a university student and some of the things the main character Tom experiences upon returning home are things that are very familiar to me: the feeling of being trapped in a house that is no longer your home, having your stuff moved around all the time, and having to come to terms with the fact that the world doesn’t stop when you move away. All of this made Tom a believable and relatable character.

I did however feel that I was not the target audience for this book. Despite the relatability of the protagonist, his experiences were overly masculine; the only female characters in the story were peripheral e.g. (ex)-girlfriends, which struck me as simplistic. It would have been better to have more developed female characters who weren’t used as objects in the development of the protagonist’s story.

The ‘laddish’ humour used in some of the main character’s conversations was at points offensive, e.g. using “that’s gay” as an insult, and didn’t add to the story. Whilst this may be an attempt at realism, fiction provides a chance to explore the complicated issues of society. In this case it would have been better to explore homophobia more thoroughly, or to not include it at all.

The writing style in general wasn’t my cup of tea, but I did find that it got better as the book progressed. Some things were quite on the nose and I felt there were instances where things would have been better off being more nuanced and left to the reader to interpret themselves. The pacing was good throughout the book and the story progressed well, and I did like the bracketing of the narrative with current events of the time.

In the end, I gave Suburb 2 out of 5 stars. It wasn’t really my thing but I would definitely consider reading more of Steven Kedie's work in the future.

You can follow Steven on Twitter and Instagram, and you can buy Suburb here on Amazon!

Happy reading!