Book Review :: Pigeon English

Although I have written this review at Goodreads, I still feel a need to blog this. I can't stress this enough: Please read this book! :)

Pigeon EnglishPigeon English by Stephen Kelman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fun fact :: When I was checking this book out at the store, I didn't realize I'd read more than a 100 pages (almost 50%) without pausing even for a second. To that extent was it's captivating style. That's when you know you have to read this book!

Pigeon English is a love letter to the world by a kid, Harrison, who has recently moved to London. Recently arrived from Ghana, Harri lives with his devout mother and slutty sister up a London tower block. He is in Year 7 at Northwell Manor where he meets the dirty and sinister kids of the Dell Farm Crew, falls in love with Poppy Morgan, plays suicide bombers at break, and generally soaks up the culture: “In England there’s a hell of different words for everything… Gay and dumb and lame mean all the same.” While Harri is busy admiring London culture, a boy gets chooked (that's stabbed - knife crime) and thence begins Harri's and his friend Dean's self employed detective work to find out the killer. Innocently busy in their 'job', they happily set up a rendezvous with doom and death.

Of racial discrimination, coming of age, disturbingly sexual thoughts (when it comes to kids), dealing with knife-crime (please Google and educate yourself about this) Pigeon English goes to fulfill our conditions for great novels about friendship, adventure, trust and mystery. We find wonder just as Harri does in his new world!

The casual ease with with Harri narrates his thoughts on racial discrimination:
They’re always telling you to wash your hands. Asweh, there’s so many germs here you wouldn’t believe it! Everybody’s scared of them all the time. Germs from Africa are the most deadliest, that’s why Vilis ran away when I tried to say hello to him, he thinks if he breathes my germs he’ll die. I didn’t even know I brought the germs with me. You can’t feel them or see them or anything. Adjei, germs are very tricky! I don’t even care if Vilis hates me, he’s a dirty tackler and he never passes the ball to me.
Your heart goes out to this little witty, clever kid who has taken it all in his stride!

This book will make you think, will make you laugh, it will make you sad for the increasing urban poverty - It's a book from the point of view of a child but not for little children!

One of the best things I like about the book is it's title! Read the book and you'll know what I mean ;)

A MUST READ if any to come out in 2011! I can't stress this enough.

Favourite quotes:
Chicken: ‘Peck peck peck peck!’
Other chicken: ‘Peck off!’

'I hope Heaven has proper goals with nets, then you don't have to run miles to get the ball every time you score a goal.'

'What your problem is, you all want to be the sea. But you’re not the sea, you’re just a raindrop. One of an endless number. If only you’d just accept it, things would be so much easier. Say it with me: I am a drop in the ocean. I am neighbour, nation, north and nowhere. I am one among many and we all fall together. Or maybe I’m just a rat with wings and I don’t know what I’m talking about.'
-Pigeon to Harri

'If he wears a pinky ring he’s a gay (a pinky ring is a ring on your little finger).
If she wears a bracelet on her ankle she’s a lesbian (shags it up with other ladies).'
This book has made its way to the longlist of the Booker Prize this year. Hoping it wins!

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