Friday, 10 June 2011

In The Bag by Jim Carrington

In The Bag by Jim Carrington
First published by Bloomsbury in 2011 (this edition by Bloomsbury in 2011)

Description (from back cover):

Joe and Ash are best mates.

One night after a party, they find a holdall abandoned by the side of the road.
They open it up.
Inside is £20,000.
Of course they're going to hand it to the police.

Aren't they?
And that is when the trouble starts.

My thoughts:
I'm actually not very sure as to how to start this review. In The Bag is not a book I would have chosen to buy for myself, the main reason being that I think I'm a little too old for it. But it seemed like a quick read, so I decided to give it a try.

The story in itself is appealing. It's about two boys (who are 15-16, if I remember rightly), who discover a bag with a lot of money in it. What are they going to do with it? Hand it over to the police? Or maybe not? It is quite a story, featuring mafia people, gunshots, black cars with dark windows. The main focus of the story is the reasons behind the boys' actions and how they deal of the consequences of their actions. Will they be able to keep it a secret, or will they find that they can't hold on to it any longer? Plus, it has a really weird ending... Like it's half-unresolved... You don't see it often in books and I have to say I didn't mind it! 

One aspect of this book that I liked was the fact that it had alternating chapters from the two characters' points-of-view. We got to be inside the heads of both characters and see how each one of them dealt with the consequences. Joe and Ash might be very good friends, but they're very different to each other and each one of them deals with the problem in his own way. That was very interesting to see. I also enjoyed the fact that the author did not focus solely on the 'bag'. He had a few side stories going on, which gave us more insight into both characters.

On the other hand, there were a couple of things I really didn't like. This book contains rather strong language. It even has a warning on the back for it (which I think is very good). To be honest, I am not bothered by swearing in books. But because of the fact that I think the story (as a storyline) would be more interesting for younger readers, the swearing excludes them from reading it. What I am trying to say here is that I am rather dubious as to whether the story would appeal to a 16 year-old me. It's more of the kind-of story that I would have found exciting when I was 13-14. Another thing I didn't like were all the smoking and drug references. I absolutely hate people smoking (I'm really weird about it) and I hate reading about children smoking. I know it is a wide-spread phenomenon nowadays, but I still don't like reading about it. (Including all those references to smoking marijuana.)

All in all, it wasn't a bad book, but the main problem I have is to whom I would recommend reading this book. It's worth a try though, as the writing is very good and the story flows well.

Rating: 5/10

Jim Carrington is the author of In The Bag and Inside My Head. (Sorry but that's all I could find!)

You can check out his website HERE.

Read for the: 100 Books In A Year Challenge 2011, British Books Challenge 2011

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