Title – Gap Years
Author – Dave Holwill
Genre: Contemporary Coming Of Age Romantic Fiction
Publication Date: 12th February 2019
Why I chose this?
I came across this thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources. I read the blurb and I thought it sounded alright, apart from one thing (it’s to do with the dog).
What it’s about
19 year old Sean hasn’t seen his father since he was twelve. His mother has never really explained why. An argument with her leads to his moving to the other side of the country.
Martin, his father, has his life thrown into turmoil when the son he hasn’t seen in nearly eight years strolls back into his life immediately killing his dog and hospitalising his step-daughter.
The one thing they have in common is the friendship of a girl called Rhiannon.
Over the course of one summer Sean experiences sexual awakenings from all angles, discovers the fleeting nature of friendship and learns to cope with rejection.
Martin, meanwhile, struggles to reconnect with Sean while trying to delicately turn down the increasingly inappropriate advances of a girl he sees as a surrogate daughter and keep a struggling marriage alive.
Gap Years is an exploration of what it means to be a man in the 21st Century seen from two very different perspectives – neatly hidden inside a funny story about bicycles, guitars and unrequited love.
Dave Holwill was born in Guildford in 1977 and quickly decided that he preferred the Westcountry – moving to Devon in 1983 (with some input from his parents).
After an expensive (and possibly wasted) education there, he has worked variously as a postman, a framer, and a print department manager (though if you are the only person in the department then can you really be called a manager?) all whilst continuing to play in every kind of band imaginable on most instruments you can think of.
Gap Years is his third novel – following on the heels of Weekend Rockstars and The Craft Room, and he is currently working on the fourth (a folk horror set in his native mid-Devon) and a sequel to Weekend Rockstars.
Social Media Links –
What I thought
Sean and Martin are father and son who haven’t seen each other since Sean was twelve thanks to his somewhat overbearing mother. Martin is a middle-aged man who’s trying to ignore the problems in his marriage and hoping they fix themselves.
The only thing these two have in common other than DNA is Rhiannon, the quirky 20-year-old student who is back from Bristol Uni for the summer.
I really enjoyed the style of this book and it’s not something I would have normally picked u off the bookshelf. I really love how it explores the family dynamics and how something can change with almost the click of someone’s fingers.
Sean as a 19-year-old with lack of sexual experience and somewhat unusual ambition (if you ask his parents that is) is a really refreshing character. In other books I have read this character would be peacocking around and trying to get as many girls as possible, either that or evil. I like how he’s constantly flitting around with ideas when one of them doesn’t go to plan and the fact that he takes himself out of a situation when he knows he won’t be happy with the results is nice. He’s definitely a fresh of breath air and a friend I would have liked and could have done with at that age.
Martin to me seemed like he was often in a grump but that’s possibly down to the salad sandwiches. I really loved seeing things from Martins POV especially straight after we’ve read Seans. Martin seems like a typical dad with the whole ignore the problem and hopefully, it goes away attitude, I think we’ve all met a man like him.
Each with a fractured relationship they both meet Rhiannon, a girl I actually liked (for a bit), she has problems of her own but seemed to deal with them and distract others from their own negativity and offer them a shoulder to cry on. If only she remained that person all the way through.
Once I got into this book I couldn’t put it down, I wanted to see how the men dealt with the issues they both had along with Martin’s 1970’s upbringing where he keeps slipping back into that none PC way of saying things. He did have the best quote in the book as far as I’m concerned which was “I dislike him for the content of his character, not the content of his trousers” referring to his encounter with the transgender boss.
I loved the differing viewpoints, the humour and the fact that it was very British. Now I want to have a pint with Sean, Martin and Allison (Martin’s wife) so I can bang their heads