Blog Tour: The Former Boy Wonder by Robert Graham

Saturday, April 30, 2022

The Former Boy Wonder
Author: Robert Graham
Price: £12.99
Publisher: Lendal Press
Publication date: 24/02/2022

Hello lovely readers! Today I'm back with a review of 'The Former Boy Wonder' by Robert Graham which is a fictional comedy that centres around a character's mid-life crisis and looks at his past and present romantic relationships, as well as the challenges of the relationship between father and sons. Massive thanks to Isabelle Kenyon for organising the blog tour and allowing me to take part in it, and to Lendal Press for sending me a gifted copy of the book in exchange for my honest review!


With his 50th birthday approaching, and his career in tatters, Peter Duffy is hard at work trying to repair his marriage when an invitation arrives in the post. Caitlin, of one his his university friends, is having a party at the country house where he met his first love, the exotic Sanchia Page. If all his old friends are going to be there, there's a slim chance that - just maybe - she will, too. Faced with this possibility, re-living his time with Sanchia threatens to turn his head and ruin all his good intentions. The story is set in the new Manchester of the 21st century and the old Manchester of 25 years before. 


I devoured 'The Former Boy Wonder' in just a few days as I was so invested in Peter's life and wondering if he would steer it in a different direction or if he would manage to fix the relationship with his wife and son. Told from a first-person perspective, the story allows to get into Peter's psyche and revisit important moments in his life, from his childhood and all the way to his 50th birthday. The novel is full of nostalgia as Peter obsesses over old photographs and memories of touring with musicians, and visits places from his past which help him to look back on better times, which I think we can all relate to. As one of the quotes from the novel states:

"It's so much easier to romanticise the past than it is to face up to the present"

Furthermore, although the books is funny, there are also elements of sadness as the character of Peter looks back on his unrequited love, but also at the relationship with his father which has had a clear effect on the relationship with his own son. Graham managed to communicate such as plethora of emotions through his writing and I think he managed to make all those emotions build up and balance out in the end which is bound to leave the reader satisfied and full of warmth. I have to admit that I don’t often read books with a first person character who is male as I don’t find that I can relate to them but the character of Peter is extremely well-developed and realistic, and a pleasure to read.

"I know I’m colouring these memories with the layers of emotion (not all of them good) I’ve collected over years of thinking about that time, and I may not be capable of summoning up the true past."

Another aspect of the novel that I enjoyed were the cultural and literature references. The characters of Lucy and Sanchia were shaped by literature references and I think this allows the reader to compare and contrast them. There's also an endless amount of music references which are a vital part of the novel, as Peter is a music lover, and struggling music writer. He is often found associating a song with a person or a time in his life, which I have to say I also find myself doing a lot as a music lover.

Overall, 'The Former Boy Wonder' is a novel worthy of a five star rating as it captures so much of life that everyone can relate to - its struggles but also the positives. Graham is a wonderful writer and  I wish I could read the novel again for the first time and experience Peter looking back on hist past whilst rebuilding his present and future again. If you like reading novels which feature a lot of nostalgia, music and love then I would definitely recommend this book to you, and even if you don't, it would be too bad to miss out on this amazing novel!

Rating: ★★★★★

If you're a fellow writer or intrigued to read about Graham writing 'The Former Boy Wonder' then check out his blog posts


About the Author

Robert Graham is the author of the novel Holy Joe; the short story collections The Only Living Boy and When You Were a Mod, I Was A Rocker; and the novella A Man Walks Into A Kitchen. His play about fans of The Smiths, If You Have Five Seconds To Spare, was staged by Contact Theatre, Manchester. He is co-author, with Keith Baty, of Elvis – The Novel, a spoof biography; and, with Julie Armstrong, Heather Leach, Helen Newall et al, of The Road To Somewhere: A Creative Writing Companion; Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Creative Writing; and How To Write A Short Story (And Think About It). He grew up in Northern Ireland and for most of his adult life has lived in Manchester. He teaches Creative Writing at Liverpool John Moores University.

For more information please see and follow Robert on Instagram @robert55graham

I'm reviewing 'The Former Boy Wonder' as part of a blog tour so why not check out the other stops on the tour to find out what the other reviewers think of the book?

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