Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Review ~ Fan by Danny Rhodes.

Title: Fan.
Author: Danny Rhodes.
Publisher: Arcadia Books.
Release Date: April 15, 2014.

Pre-order: Amazon UK

In 1989, eighteen-year old John Finch spends his Saturdays following Nottingham Forest up and down the country and the rest of the week trudging the streets of his hometown as a postal worker. His blossoming relationship with girlfriend Jen is his only other respite. In 2004 he spends his days teaching in a southern secondary school while delaying the inevitable onslaught of parenthood. Leading inexorably towards the FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough, and the worst sporting disaster in British History, this book glides between 1989 and 2004, when the true impact of this tragic day becomes evident.

Fan is a book about personal and collective tragedy. It's about growing up and not growing up, about manhood and about what makes a man, and about football's role in reflecting a society never more than a brick's throw away from shattering point.

Dark, haunting and deeply personal, Danny Rhodes' heart-felt novel explodes with gut-wrenching emotion and exposes how disaster can not only affect a life, but change it's course forever.




Review:

This is how to write a book. Fan is dark, brave and completely enthralling – much more than ‘a book about football’, Danny Rhodes has written a wonderful coming-of-age book.

I was drawn to this book as soon as I was aware of it because I thought it would take a lot of talent and guts to work a sensitive event like Hillsborough into fiction, but Fan surpassed my expectations massively. The book switches between present day and the past perfectly, as we learn about John and how football and the Hillsborough disaster have affected the past fifteen years of his life. I could feel the emotion and I found the plot really thought-provoking and impactful.

I loved John’s journey throughout this book – nothing felt like the exaggerated, false development it could have been. His character felt real and honest and by no means a cheerful, uplifting personality but definitely compelling.

Fan is an awesome book just taken how it is, but as you see the tragedies John saw on his football ‘away days’, it made me consider more the off-field side of the game. It helped me relate to the horrible Bradford City stadium fire, something I wasn’t alive for but a tragedy which affected my family as we lost a part of it. I just don’t think this book can be dismissed as purely a football story. Fan isn’t a book about a man whose life was affected by on-pitch incidents – it handles a much more serious and heart-wrenching side to the sport.

This book was incredible, a harrowing issue but written brilliantly. Definitely the best sports book I’ve ever read and I’d go as far as saying one of the best books I’ve read in my life. Words just don’t do Fan enough justice.

Rating:
*Thanks to Arcadia Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Review also posted on Goodreads ; Amazon UK


About the Author:

Danny Rhodes grew up in Grantham, Lincolnshire before moving to Kent in 1994 to attend the University of Kent (and then Canterbury Christchurch) in Canterbury. He has lived in the cathedral city ever since. After a number of his short stories appeared in magazines on both sides of the Atlantic, his debut novel, Asboville was published in October 2006. Well received by critics, it was selected as a Waterstones' Paperback of the Year and it has been adapted for BBC Films by Nick Leather. Rhodes' second novel Soldier Boy was published in February 2009. Fan is Danny's third novel, and he continues to write short stories. Danny Rhodes was at Hillsborough on 15 April 1989.

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