As discussed in a previous blog post i recently won a competition to become on of a 100 Peter May superfans and part of the awesomeness of winning was getting a signed ARC of runaway. So why haven’t i blogged about this before you may ask well Quercus who publish his books made some errors when they sent out the ARC’s meaning i had to send mine back and i only recently received my new version, with a free bonus book for having to wait thanks Quercus.
One thing for sure is that it was totally worth the wait, this is a charming well written story that just transports you back in time, i loved it and basically read it in two sittings. The story follows a group of teenagers who runaway to London via Leeds (my home town) in the 1960’s and i think part of the charm of this is that every kid has a dream of running away at some point even those with perfectly lovely childhoods (i have awesome parents and still wanted to runaway and join the circus athough i think Enid Blyton was a blt to blame for that) although as my husband says everyone does kind of end up running away at some point although most of us do it in the form of moving out, finding a job or going to university which is no where near as romantic as running off to London to find fame.
This is a book that wll appeal to a broad range of people i know my Dad loved it and thinks it should win a booker prize, although i agree this is truly prize winning literature i think it is fortunately for us to well written and down to earth to be a booker contender but it will win something. The characters are brilliantly well written as they are in all of Peter’s books and i loved the chance meetings they have with celebrities in an almost Forrest gump kind of way. I also love how none of the characters are truly likeable they are all flawed in some way, they all do selfish hurtful things at points even our stories hero’s, and this is what story characters should be like because in real life no one is perfect people are flawed and sometimes do selfish things and stories are more real when you can believe in a character or see parts of yourself in them. The story is believable and finishes with a twist you won’t see coming at all. I love the idea that the kids sort of live out their one great adventure in life at 17 and then look back later and wonder if that really was the high point for them, do we all have one great highlight in life and want to feel like we made a mark somehow. The other reason the story will have an almost unviersal appeal is its deep connection to music and great music at that (bob dylan appears at one point) the kids are all in a band and want to be rockstars yet again another dream everyone has had at some point. They are partly running to London to find a musical career. The book is again brilliantly researched and really draws in some of the great counter culture of the 60’s (there are some strange ideas about mental health).
This feels like a real departure from Peter May’s other novels and shows once again what a real talent he has, this book in a way feels more personal and i know from interviews that it is based slightly on an adventure to London he had with a friend when he was a teenager, and much like in the book there musical dreams didn’t come true, although could this partly be down to it being an era where popstars, x factor and the voice didn’t exist. It’s never too late Peter we could see you two at blind auditions next year.
Even though it’s only January i have already read a lot of great books this year and i know that Runaway is one i am still going to be recommending for a long time to come, if you haven’t read Peter May yet do yourself a favour and go out and buy yourself a copy of this book it’s amazing and you won’t regret it we may even convert you to our superfan cause.