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The Opposite Bastard
by Simon Packham

Release Date: 7th Nov 2008
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 978 0 2307 1242 3
RRP: 14.99

Average Customer Rating: 
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A dark comedy not for the faint hearted or easily offended - the title probably makes that clear...

Reading The Opposite Bastard was akin to biting into a turd and discovering to my utter bewilderment that it tasted like chocolate - only to realise with chagrin that I had been conned into thinking it was a turd by my preconceptions of what constitutes a turd. Confused? I'll say. But let's not get ahead of ourselves... The Opposite Bastard is a stupendously ignorant title, which is totally out of synch with the warm and fuzzy tale of a severely disabled young man who not only finds a bosom buddy in the form of flailing actor, Timothy Salt, but also most spectacularly of all - he finds love. Not with a two-bit ninny whose face resembles the back of a bus, but with University beauty and rich girl, Anna.

Along with all that warmth and inner glow of beautiful people with beautiful personalities, we have a couple of villains. Philip Sidney is a snobbish, yobbish, foul-mouthed little s**t, who through his own insecurities and issues deems it necessary to undermine, deflate and devalue everyone and everything around him - bar himself. We've all met the type and most of us will relish his ultimate demise. Then, we have Nikki Hardbody - aptly named - she's gorgeous on the outside, but ugly on the inside. Bereft of all human decency and compassion; she epitomises what Reality TV means to most ordinary folk these days. Together, the cast is a motley crew of outrageous characters who we see through the various lenses of the 'Virgin' aka Anna, the 'Quadriplegic' aka Michael and the 'Actor' aka Timothy Salt.

The Opposite Bastard is a feisty bit of writing. There is an unassuming yet provocative essence to the novel that is reminiscent of avant-garde playwrights. None of the characters are what we would expect and yet they feel more real to us than reality. Whilst there is a somewhat over abundance of profanity throughout coupled with occasional insights into bodily functions and private pastimes; this only exaggerates the hilarity of the thrusting ripostes and stunning one-liners that are littered almost carelessly through the body of the book.

Recommended to those who like it a bit dirty but still want a decent storyline.


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