Book Review: Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas
September 10, 2014 18 Comments
From the publishers: “His whole life, Danny Kelly’s only wanted one thing: to win Olympic gold. Everything he’s ever done-every thought, every dream, every action-takes him closer to that moment of glory, of vindication, when the world will see him for what he is: the fastest, the strongest and the best. His life has been a preparation for that moment.
His parents struggle to send him to the most prestigious private school with the finest swimming program; Danny loathes it there and is bullied and shunned as an outsider, but his coach is the best and knows Danny is, too, better than all those rich boys, those pretenders. Danny’s win-at-all-cost ferocity gradually wins favour with the coolest boys-he’s Barracuda, he’s the psycho, he’s everything they want to be but don’t have the guts to get there. He’s going to show them all.“
Barracuda: What I thought
My reading experience with Barracuda was very mixed. I loved the beginning, about Danny, from a poor family, going to a private school where he’d be coached in swimming. He was the best swimmer of them all. Although they initially don’t want much to do with him, the other boys are impressed by his swimming capabilities and he becomes reluctant friends with some of them.
The story about young Danny is intermixed with that of an older Dan. It seems things didn’t work out in the end. After a while, the story became too negative and I didn’t enjoy it anymore. I even put it aside, forgot that I was reading it, and read most of another book before I realized I was supposed to read Barracuda. I’m glad I did get back to it, because it did get better. When he gets to know his cousin, he finally finds a person he can relate to. I loved it how he connected with him.
The mix of past and present was sometimes confusing. The story in the past was written in the third person (Danny, he) while the rest was written in the first person (I), presumably to indicate how older -Dan didn’t relate to his younger version. That was made very clear in the story, so the change in point of view seemed a little redundant. Also, it didn’t help me while reading in deciding whether I was reading the past or the present (I just forgot which was which until it became clear that Dan had distanced himself from Danny).
The story is about a boy, later a man, looking for recognition and belonging. Definitely well-written but a bit too bleak at places.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (okay to good)
Number of pages: 528
First published: 2014
I got this: for review from Blogging for Books (ebook)
Genre: Contemporary Fiction