Guess who’s been caught reading? Mr Joel Treyvaud

 BOOK REVIEW/RECOMMENDATION                                                             (Staff, 7-9, 10-12)

Mr Treyvaud has reviewed Starter for Ten by David Nicholls.

 I just finished a book by British author David Nicholls. I began reading this book as it was chosen for my wife’s book club and not one of the members of the club finished the book. I was eager to find out why. 

The book is set in the mid 80’s in England and revolves around a young man’s obsession with ‘University Challenge’. Brian Jackson has just completed High School and has been accepted into University to begin his studies in literature. Along the way he ditches his old home town friends, becomes completely obsessed with a beautiful, intelligent girl and continually embarrasses himself in front of all the people he is trying to impress.

Even though the book is set well before I attended university it is impossible not to draw parallels with my own experiences. Beer brewing, girl chasing and generally forgetting the reasons for

attending university are issues which most students will need to assess at some point. Brian confronts these important, and not so important, topics with an awkwardness and humour that most pubescent teenagers are yet to learn. He is at one moment completely oblivious to what is happening around him and in the next moment so in touch with himself and his surroundings that it is scary.


Nicholls has captured the very essence of the first year university student in this novel and has added to it the hindsight that many of us wish we could have had. Brian’s struggle with his own identity, the conventions of cool and success are incredibly familiar and handled with such sincerity that readers would find it hard not to like him.


I am surprised that none of my wife’s book club members finished the book and can only guess as to their reasons. I must say I am unwilling to publish any of the reasons I can come up with.


I would recommend this book to all age groups. It is an incredibly fresh rite of passage/coming of age story. I wonder if some senior students may like to read this as a guide for the years ahead!

You can read other reviews here, here, here and here.

Thanks, Mr Treyvaud, for your review!

You are all invited to email me a review of what you’ve been reading.



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