The Thrill Of It All by Joseph O’Connor

Some might read The Thrill Of It All as the memoir of a fictional band. It seems to me instead, or more so, to be a story of love, friendship and loneliness.
Robbie is a second-generation Irish teenager growing up in 80’s Luton. He has a brother and a dead sister, an absence that is present throughout the book as if a character of its own. Soon after starting his studies at The Poly, Robbie meets Fran, the future lead singer of their future band. Meeting Fran brings focus to a life that until then largely consisted of winding up Robbie’s parents whom he defiantly calls Jimmy and Alice. ‘My hobby became Fran-watching,’ he says, and later he quotes Montaigne: ‘If you press me to tell why I loved him, I can only say very little. It was because he was he, and I was I.’ As it often happens, the main events of Robbie’s life come as a giant wave when he is barely out of childhood, and after the wave has receded, the rest of his life is spent dealing with the aftermath. Fran and Robbie, plus Robbie’s crush Trez and her brother Sean, form a band, spend ages getting it off the ground, tour for free, sleep in the car to save money, play to audiences who couldn’t care less. They hit success, life seems to be about to start. And then Fran leaves. Gone to pursue his own on


Author: Maia Nikitina

Writer, reviewer, blogger.

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