Book Review – Starter for Ten – David Nicholls

Q. What does a woman really look for in a man?
A. Advanced general knowledge of course.

1985. First-year student and Kate Bush fan Brian falls for beautiful University Challenge queen Alice Harbison in a brilliant comedy of love, class, growing up and the all-important difference between knowledge and wisdom.

This is one of the first books that I actually watched the film before reading it.
I was ill one day recently and was stuck in bed so I took to Netflix to find a film and Starter for Ten was on there so I decided to watch it. I knew it was a book as well but thought that if I liked the film I would then go and buy the book.

The film was amazingly done, and now that I have read the book, I can see just how different it is to the film, yes a lot of it is the same (obviously) but you can understand the characters soooo much more if you read the novel.

The story is set in a town in Essex called Southend (I come from Essex so it was odd knowing all of the locations). Brian is the main character and he is a brain box. He and his father used to sit down every night and watch quizzes together after he had come back from work, and with that his love for them grew.

At the beginning of every chapter there is a question and answer, as with other books it is a really good way to start off the chapter because it gives you a fun fact that you never knew (or at least, that I never knew…).

I think I migrate towards the books with bits at the beginning of the chapter, I just love that it’s giving a little extra, whether it’s trivial or that you are finding out more about the characters, it’s just one of my favourite parts of books.

As we read the book we are taking through the stages of a bright boy finding his way through university, and finding his way through the infamous quiz that is University Challenge. As I have said, Brian and his dad used to watch quizzes together, one of their favourites was University Challenge; once Brian gets the chance to get onto the team in his uni, there is no stopping him, whether he’s a substitute or not…

As well as the storyline of University Challenge (with the starter for 10) we have Brian finding –what he thinks is- ‘love’ (but is really just lust) and Brian finding –what is really- love.

We follow him through freshers in the 80s and find what it was really like to go through the University Challenge process – with a few hiccups…

You can buy the book of Starter for 10 here, or watch the film here

If you have any suggestions for my next blog, comment below or tweet me @LHutchon

Elle Hache.

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