So, Top Cat - we've all read Educating Peter, (and the vast majority of us have loved it, is the impression I get!) and you've told us about "Nice Jumper" - but where do you go from here? Are you planning another book along the same sort of lines, or are you going to branch out in a new direction entirely?
(Anyone like to offer any suggestions, or wise career advice )
By Mad Dog & Glory
Apologies for coming so late to this, but I only finished the book a couple of days ago, and I've been ridiculously busy lately and haven't been posting outside of my official status. I want to write on the other threads but most of all, I want to write about someone who only appeared in the book for a few pages.
The person I found most resonant in Educating Peter wasn't Peter, or Tom even, but Roland. Or rather, it was the relationship between Tom and Roland - described in only a few pages - that resonated. I have had quite a few friends over the years with whom conversation was strictly limited to certain topics. If I ever strayed outside those topics - say, into the personal - I would be met with silence, or embarrassed mumbling, and have to steer the conversation back into safe waters. At most points in my life, since I was about 11, I have had at least one Roland in my life.
I think this kind of friendship is strictly restricted to men - please correct me if I'm wrong. I have had friends where we only talk about sport, I have had friends where we only talk about sport and music. I have had other friends where the only thing we have in common in the present is a shared past. Often the situation is that one friend moves on with his life and the other doesn't, and it is the latter who not only clings on to the friendship but also seeks to keep the friendship in the past, and doesn't want to update the references. That seemed to be the case between Tom and Roland.
I found the scene in Nottingham immensely powerful and poignant, and sad. I have had friends who are exactly the same in their 40s as in their 20s, and you sense that Roland will never change, that he will be stuck as the indie kid of the early 90s when he is in his early 90s, with his very fixed rules about what is OK and what is not OK. No wonder Roland and Peter got on better than Roland and Tom, as mentally they were about the same age at that point. But soon even Peter would be leaving Roland behind.
Well, I've finished the book and enjoyed it a great deal, (and my husband has been eagerly awaiting me reaching the end.....so he can pounce on it as soon as I put it down!)
Can I make the most of the opportunity to ask some nosey questions, Top Cat?
At what point in the whole sequence of events did you start thinking, "Actually.....this might make a book" Was that in your head as a possibility right from the start, or did it only come afterwards, or somewhere in between?
And, if the book idea didn't come completely after the events you relate....how much did that possibility, once you'd thought it, shape what you did and what you said and where you went as you were going along? (And at what stage did you say to Peter, "Heh, fancy being the star of your very own book??)
I'm really interested in how these things come about - spill the beans!
I read this today in a couple of sittings and laughed out loud in parts and identified with quite a bit of it. It's also given me some ideas of how to approach my coming holiday in Scotland with my cousins and their thirteen year old 'goth' daughter and her friend. Don't get me wrong, we have a good relationship but I definately recognised some areas where I tend to go wrong when talking to her. I forget they only exist in the present and are mostly indifferent to the past and 'laid back' about the future.
When I come up against teenagers and their culture I can't help but examine it against how it was when I was that age - trying to understand where they are coming from sometimes leaves you more confused about them but clearer about some traits in yourself. I do think that despite not understanding some of what they do that I enjoy their company and even their moody silences (sometimes) with the relaxed feeling of having been there and done that, no matter what the current costumes and fixations are we've all been there.
I guess you can tell that I found something to identify with in the book which increased my enjoyment of it but I think I would have enjoyed the humour and its easy readability without that. I think I may have finally understood pyschadelia now too!
I'm definately passing it onto my cousins...thanks Tom... its good to know there are people out there who feel they act older years before their time besides myself.
Do we all rexamine what we raised up to god-like status in our teenage years only to tear it down when hormone levels descend to normal?
...of Educating Peter by Tom Cox, then I'm afraid you are too late.
However, you can always take part in the discussions by buying the book through one of our Amazon hyperlinks, and simultaneously earning a few pennies for both Book Group Online, and Tom Cox himself (otherwise known as Top Cat).
(Links to follow when I come back from the dentist!)