Tuesday 15 August 2017

Book review : Freshers - Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison

If you didn't go to university, you probably won't like Freshers because you'll find it far-fetched and ridiculous. If you did go to university, it will be a rollicking, riotous trip down memory lane that will keep making you think back to your own university days.

I was a fresher (or first year student, if you're unfamiliar with the lingo) all the way back in 1991. Back then, there was no such thing as mobile phones (we'd spend hours hanging around the pay phones in the halls of residence, silently seething as the person in front hogged the phone way beyond the scheduled time that your parents would be calling to save you paying for the call !). There was no such thing as internet - we actually had to look things up in books in the library (shock horror !). Nobody had their own computer - we'd book an hour-long slot in the computer room next to the library and use a "word processor" then save everything on floppy disk so that we could go and print it all out. Times were very very different. And yet, on nearly every page, there was something that made me squeal with delight or literally laugh out loud as I reminisced at our own crazy shenanigans as freshers.

At the time, we felt like we were the only ones being totally crazy and living life to the limit. Waking up after yet another heavy night out and wondering why there was a traffic cone in the middle of the room and a "for sale" sign hanging out of the window of the halls of residence. Leaving an iron-shaped melted patch in the carpet after trying to do the ironing without an ironing board. Trying to sneak people in past the porters after the evening curfew then giggling so much they came to see what was going on. Going for alcohol-fuelled fridge raids in the communal fridges on other people's corridors. On one memorable occasion, some of the boys down the hall got some bricks from goodness knows where and bricked up (without cement - they weren't that bad !) their friend's door so that when he got up in the morning and opened the door, he was totally confused to walk into a wall. I'm still not sure how he managed to get out ! All things that actually happened in my first year and that wouldn't have been out of place in the book.

The interplay and banter between the characters is spot on too. The incredibly close friendships that instantly sprang up, as well as the on-off-on again relationships that never quite knew if they wanted to be friendships or something more. Also the long distance relationships that never quite made it past the end of the first term, and the sudden desire to connect with people from your home town that you'd never even spoken to at school, just because there was a connection, however tenuous. It all rang totally true in the book.

It's a coming-of-age novel with true-to-life characters, trying to find their way through the "brave new world" of life, love and lectures as an undergraduate. None of them are perfect but none of them are totally despicable either.

I loved every page - for me, it was a totally nostalgic and enchanting trip down memory lane, minus the hangovers ! I'm just jealous Harry Potter hadn't been written when I was a student because quidditch club sounds brilliant fun ! (We did have The Magic Roundabout Appreciation Society though, not that I ever went to any of the meetings, but I did buy the T-shirt !)

star rating : 5/5

RRP : £7.99

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Chicken House; 1 edition (3 Aug. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1910655880
  • ISBN-13: 978-1910655887
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 2.6 x 20.4 cm

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.


  1. I didn't go to university but love funny, far fetched stories, a lovely review xXx

  2. I went to uni. Sounds a great book


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