The Hit (by Melvin Burgess)

22 12 2013

thehitWay back in the day, Melvin Burgess’s Junk was a British teen generation’s Go Ask Alice. This was the age of Trainspotting and when Britain regained some of its cool again for people like the cat. In a way and in hindsight, Junk was an easy hit, symptomatic of the age in which it was conceived and published, despite and probably because of its obvious ‘controversial’ topic: the heroin addiction of 2 teens. After Junk, Burgess has published a slew of other novels some of which also deal with so-called controversial topics (like Doing It), but which are really fairly lame in the grand scheme of things, but none of his other novels have garnered the attention or the reputation of Junk.

With The Hit, it seems Burgess wants to have a do-over of Junk. Drugs? Check! Two teens somewhat on the run? Check! Anarchism & nitty gritty societal problems? Check! The Hit deals with a new drug, called Death, which allows users to have one week of absolute awesome. This week will then ultimately and irrevocably lead to death, though, so you better make the best of your week, sleep with prostitutes, get girls pregnant, rob banks, party hard and harder…, this is what you do. An interesting premise (I guess?), but good literature it ain’t…

All I can say is that I really don’t have the patience nor the stamina for this type of book anymore. I’m not talking about its ‘dark’ topic and I’m not talking about its premise. What I am talking about is its weak execution: cardboard characters that have no personality whatsoever so who fucking cares if any of them dies anyway; a muddy plot that gets needlessly confounded by bits and pieces about everything (from pedophilia to anarchism); and most disturbingly: boring writing – which beckons a re-read of Junk, for sure, because seriously…?

Anyway, definitely the let-down of the year. Where’s 2014?



One response

22 12 2013
The year 2013 in reading | Ringo the Cat's Blog

[…] The Infinite Moment of Us was the biggest disappointment of 2013. I thought Melvin Burgess’s The Hit totally stank. I honestly don’t understand how people could rate books like Where She Went or […]

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