Henry Tumour (by Anthony McGowan)

2 04 2011

One of the coolest ideas (a talking brain tumor) and definitely one of the coolest opening words for any book: Arsecheese. The tone is set: we get deliciously vulgar ( though often decidedly man-) humour as well as unpredictable scenes featuring Hector Brundy – your typical nerdgeek who’s into comic books, Star Trek as well as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That last part definitely won over the cat.

Henry Tumour is a sensitive tale about growing up, and making the best of things, despite your shortcomings , even if that something is a brain tumor that threatens to take over your life as well as your geeky personality. When life is short, the last thing you need is a brain tumor trying to turn you into Super Stud (to keep in tune with the comic book theme of the novel). The sensitivity of the novel is smartly disguised in brutally honest bully scenes, sex-talk and snogging fests with Uma Upshaw (I am not inventing this name!) and tragic-comic reveries about has been hippie-feminists.

Also disguised amongst the stream of consciousness writing are important questions about your own mortality, and the need/want/use of morality in light of the finality of all things (with Hector as the Ego and Henry as the Id). This is never an easy question to answer, but in the mind of a teenager with a brain tumor, the whole thing almost gets something hilariously grotesque.

The cat definitely rates this book 4 stars, but she felt her mind wander a bit at times, much like Henry takes Hector’s mind on a bit of a mind trip. Otherwise it would have been a 4+… Be that as it may, Henry Tumour is as fresh as fresh can get, and you’ll find yourselves sniggering along with the crude jokes and reveling in the TV and other pop culture references.

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7 responses

30 04 2011
Anthony McGowan

Thanks for that really thoughtful and insightful review.
Best
Tony

30 04 2011
Ringo the Cat

You’re welcome! Henry Tumour left me wanting to read more of your writing!

4 05 2011
DOofus

same here!

15 01 2012
Hellbent (by Anthony McGowan) « Ringo the Cat's Blog

[…] turns out Anthony McGowan has all of those – something the cat already knew after reading Henry Tumour. Unfortunately, even though this novel starts out brilliantly, McGowan can’t keep up the sizzling […]

11 02 2014
Burger Wuss (by M.T. Anderson) | Ringo the Cat's Blog

[…] different approach to writing for a teen audience. If you like Anthony McGowan’s works Hellbent, Henry Tumour or Hello Darkness, pick this one up as […]

29 07 2014
London and books. | Ringo the Cat's Blog

[…] by Anthony McGowan, the book he wrote for Barrington Stoke and which is ‘a dyslexia friendly’ book. […]

10 08 2014
B as in… | Ringo the Cat's Blog

[…] to know how dark and twisted should be used in the same sentence as humor, go on an read *any* of his other books. I promise you there is no one like McGowan out there. But, I think Brock just made me […]

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