Life! Death! Prizes!

Life! Death! Prizes!

by Stephen May


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Billy's mother is dead. He knows-because he reads about it in magazines-that people die every day in ways that are more random and tragic and stupid than hers, but for nineteen-year-old Billy and his little brother, Oscar, their mother's death in a bungled street robbery is the most random and tragic and stupid thing that could possibly have happened to them. Now Billy must be both mother and father to Oscar, and despite what his well-meaning aunt, the PTA mothers, social services, and Oscar's own prodigal father all think, he feels certain that he is the one for the job.

The boys' new world-where bedtimes are arbitrary, tidiness is optional, and healthy home-cooked meals pile up uneaten in the freezer-is built out of chaos and fierce love, but it's also a world that teeters perilously on its axis. As Billy's obsession with his mother's missing killer grows, he risks losing sight of the one thing that really matters: the only family he has left.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781620400012
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 12/11/2012
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.66(w) x 8.02(h) x 0.72(d)

About the Author

Stephen May's first novel, Tag, was published by a small Welsh press and won the Reader's Choice Award at the Welsh Book of the Year Awards in 2009, despite Stephen's not being Welsh. Stephen lives in Yorkshire, where he works for the Arts Council.

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Life! Death! Prizes! 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wasnt sure what to expect, but i thought this book was pretty good. It was a quick read. Some funny parts some sad. This book takes place in England and some of the slang and stuff i wasnt sure exactly what it was, but overall i really liked this book.
presto on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When Billy's mother is killed in a bungled street robbery, the now orphaned nineteen year old boy is determined to look after his six year old step-brother Oscar, despite the advice of his aunt and the reappearance on the scene of Oscar's natural father who belatedly wants to claim him. In his own way Billy, who is doing a gap year before going off to university, does his best, but is is enough, especially once Social Services become involved?The most heartening aspect of Life! Death! Prizes! is Billy's one thought to care for Oscar, and he does all he can to make Oscar happy; and Oscar responds with obvious love for his older brother. There are some delightful episodes: after Billy has been encouraging Oscar to take more responsibility for their easy lifestyle and late nights Oscar responds "but Billy, I'm only six".There is a darker side here too, plagued by thoughts of his mother's now hunted killer, the wayward Aidan Jebb, Billy gradually builds a picture of the youth, and frequently catches glimpses of him as if he is being stalked. But Billy's obsession is in danger of getting out of hand and looks to be heading for tragedy.This is a delightful read, sometimes you may want to shake Billy and tell him to get it together, and you may not always approve of his free lifestyle, or perhaps more pointedly the free-living way his radical mother raised him, but he is all heart and full of good intentions, and has almost endless time and patience for Oscar. It's a lovely premise for a novel, the bothers' determination to stay together, and Stephen May makes of it a lively, imaginative and often funny account which while frequently touching is never is in danger of getting mawkish.
PatAK More than 1 year ago
It kept my interest okay. Did have a lot of British terms and slang, so some of it was a little hard to get.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Usually enjoy British books but this one leaves me cold with its crudeness.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A teen age english boy tries to raise his six year old brother and is doing a poor job of it while child services an aunt and long lost father try to get custody after mother is killed in a mugging. While the trials and tribulations of a drunk pot smoker teen between school years may be recreational reading it may not be to your taste nor was it to mine i follow the rule read its a three half read a two a one for scan and delite buy or borrow buska