Black Swan Green by David Mitchell
This is the story of a year in the life of thirteen-year-old Jason Taylor in the little sleepy town of Black Swan Green in 1982 England. Things seem fine in town and school but as we follow Jason through the seasons we see the changes, as he witnesses them, in his family and the world around him.
The time period was what made this so enjoyable for me. His character and I are close in age and it was interesting to see what the highlights of his life as a teen and the pinnacles of pop culture in England were in the early 1980s. (There was some overlap between America and England as far as pop culture goes, but some musical bands he was in love with in 1982 I don’t think I even heard of until college.) The war in the Falkland Islands was a major event in the book affecting many of the town residents and Jason often reflects on what an important war it is and how no one will ever forget it was fought. How many people today remember? And how many school aged children have heard of an event that was at the center of Jason’s childhood?
This is a wonderful listen. The reader sounds like a British teen and when he reads the adult parts he deepens his voice. The slang just rolls off his tongue and because of his reading you know exactly what he means even though you (probably) didn’t grow up in England.