Mark Renton has it all: he's good-looking, young, with a pretty girlfriend and a place at university. But there's no room for him in the 1980s. Thatcher's government is destroying working-class communities across Britain, and the post-war certainties of full employment, educational opportunity and a welfare state are gone. When his family starts to fracture, Mark's life swings out of control and he succumbs to the defeatism which has taken hold in Edinburgh's grimmer areas. The way out is heroin.
It's no better for his friends. Spud Murphy is paid off from his job, Tommy Lawrence feels himself being sucked into a life of petty crime and violence - the worlds of the thieving Matty Connell and psychotic Franco Begbie. Only Sick Boy, the supreme manipulator of the opposite sex, seems to ride the current, scamming and hustling his way through it all.
Skagboys charts their journey from likely lads to young men addicted to the heroin which has flooded their disintegrating community. This is the 1980s: a time of drugs, poverty, AIDS, violence, political strife and hatred - but a lot of laughs, and maybe just a little love; a decade which changed Britain for ever. The prequel to the world-renowned Trainspotting, this is an exhilarating and moving book, full of the scabrous humour, salty vernacular and appalling behaviour that has made Irvine Welsh a household name.
I wasn't sure about this book due to the length of it but it is well constructed. You feel like you really get to know the main protagonists, Sick Boy, Spud, Rents and Begbie.
You get a good sense of how they live or maybe that should be drift through life.
As with the other Audiobooks from Welch, Tam Dean Burn does a fantastic job of bringing it all to life. He is like 3D for Audiobooks.
ABRIDGED. Tam Dean Burn not a good choice
Two main complaints here, firstly that the content is abridged despite being sold as unabridged. This is illegal under British consumer law.
Secondly, Tam Dean burn is great when reading in a Scottish accent but is incapable of imitating other accents required, in this case a Geordie accent, a Yorkshire accent and various London patois.
Also, when songs appear in the text, Burn just slurs through them rather than attempting to sing them;
Apple charge a lot of money for this content and it’s not unreasonable to expect that they get this right.
Tam Dean Burn does this justice
Great book, well read