My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wilson’s debut is nothing short of spectacular. It’s an epic tale of a gay young man who moves to the “big city”, London, and gets a crash course in debauchery. The group of friends he surrounds himself with, with the help of his childhood best friend, introduce him to all the things his mall town existence wouldn’t ever imagine.
Max is flawed, and some of his decisions are more than questionable, but Wilson still manages to make the reader root for him. He’s young and sheltered, and London is the proverbial candy store.
I appreciated the attention to detail paid to the time period in which the story is set. I grew up in the 80s, and the setting felt very authentic and true to the decade. One of the most sensitive topics, the AIDS epidemic, is handled respectfully and honestly. Nothing is sugarcoated. There is suffering and lives lost.
Smalltown Boy is raw, humourous at times, and, ultimately, hopeful. Wilson is one to keep an eye on