Thursday, August 4, 2011

'review' of ben brooks - grow up

On Thursday 21 of July I woke up at 7am and went to the Melbourne airport to get a plane to New Zealand. I cried for the first half hour of the flight, then watched a movie with Bradley Cooper in it. James Duncan and Stacey Teague met me at the airport. I gave Stacey a hug and started to feel nervous while I was hugging her so I held her a bit tighter and nearly made her fall over. I hugged James Duncan. He smelt like coffee. He was holding a coffee cup in the front pocket of his jacket. I said "you smell like coffee, that's nice" then I felt weird.

Stacey drove us into town where we had plans to get dinner with Jackson Nieuwland. Stacey and I gabbed away in the front of the car and I tried to calm down. On the stereo there was a CD playing Coldplay, Fleetwood Mac, the Shlohmo remix of 'im da shit' by Gucci Mane that James Duncan introduced us to weeks earlier, plus some other music that was mutually accepted as 'good'.

We spent some time waiting on the corner of Krd and Queen street looking out for Jackson Nieuwland. Jackson is a very tall person, he measures around 6'7". I felt jittery. I think we were all anticipating his arrival. We had dinner at Renkon. Jackson's pupils looked huge. There was talk of super foods.

We drove back to the shack where Stacey lives with Huna. James had brought over a copy of Grow Up by Ben Brooks. I think he said he read most of it on the plane. I promptly began to read it with vigour. Reading this book was a very good distraction from having to ask where I would be sleeping that evening.

Grow Up is about Jasper who is a teenager doing high school. He seems to have a frank personality and the way he thought about things reminded me of Christopher from 'Curious incident of the dog' sometimes. Jasper frequently got up early. He listened to one of Avril Lavigne's earlier albums to feel safe or nostalgic maybe, which is what I have done with the album 'Let Go' in the past. He was trying very hard to comfort his nice friend Tenaya a lot of the time because she was sad. I thought the way they drank tea together was very sweet and sort of middle aged. It reminded me how one of my friends always requests that I pop the kettle on before she comes over.

It made me remember a lot of things about being a teenager and made me realise that a lot of those things that I felt then are still with me today, although I think most of my friends have stopped doing self harm.

One of my favourite parts was when Jasper is hanging out with Tenaya and he asks if they can watch episodes of Gilmore Girls. There were a lot of pleasing pop culture references. The friendship Jasper and Tenaya had seemed like the kind of friendship you have where time seems like it is very still, you could do just about anything together and want to do just about anything, but probably end up doing nothing and that seems okay and not like a waste of time usually.

I found Grow Up really easy to read and read most of it that first night that I arrived. It seemed like a good distraction from 'everything that was going on', plus I felt proud that I was reading something very quickly.

Before I read this book I read the review that was written about it on the Guardian website. When I read it I thought about another article I read on the Guardian website about electronic poetry, which was about how when you write about something as if it is literature, you are in doing so acknowledging its place among literature.

I think that it evoked some other feelings in me that were ~profound but because the book belongs to James I cannot refer back to it at the present moment in time.


  1. genuinely :)'d while reading this

  2. Great review. I would love to read more of them in the future.

    I've been told many times that I have large pupils =s