I just finished Trainspotting (finally, I know I need to read faster!) and it’s incredible. It’s a bit of a head trip in places, and some of the time you find yourself thinking “who’s this?” but you soon realise from the subtle changes in spelling and name references which character is speaking. One thing’s for sure though, after reading it I never want to touch any drug that’s mentioned in that book!
It’s a book that’s not for the faint hearted. “Rents” who you get the main story through is constantly on a rollercoaster ride of drug taking. The terrifying thing for me is how real it’s all made. I could see in my mind most of the stuff that was there just as words on the paper. The beginning where Rents is searching through a blocked toilet looking for the capsules to shove back up his behind is the first description that sticks in my head. The retching I was doing just from that paragraph. I was actually nearly sick. But I think it makes you realise how desperate times are for people like that.
One thing I love when I’m reading is an author’s ability to make me ‘feel’ the characters. If I can sit there and nearly be sick or sit there thinking “what a f***ing d**k” whilst really hating the person I’m reading about. Or laughing like a nutter about something that’s just there written down. I know instantly that the author was a genius! That is when I really fall in love with a book. And that’s what Trainspotting does. It’s made even better by the fact that the main guy, Rents, is one person that you can really get into, you can love him, feel sorry for him, laugh at him and hate him within the space of one sitting and that’s what I loved about Trainspotting.
I found myself wishing that Rents would just get clean. Live out a fantasy of life that everyone aspires to, the “fantasy” that Welsh put across so cleverly in that famous “choose Life” speech. But that is just my romantic notions and of course it was never going to happen. The ending it seemed was perfect. I found myself the whole way through thinking “why does he hang around with these gits” and I’m glad that he ended up screwing them over. He was always alone when he was with them so why not be alone away from them.
The scariest thing in the book was the views of children and women. For me, being a bit of a feminist, I found myself seething but some parts of the book were hilarious for this point. The part with Kelly and Ali and the two New Zealand girls was brilliant. I was loving it. I think the book really benefited from having the girls input even if it was a small bit.
I also kept forgetting that the setting was from a much different time to nowadays. The late 80s and early 90s seem like a different mindset from anything I’ve ever known, let alone the setting of the book. I’ve never known a drug culture as prominent as that one but reading that I’m glad I haven’t. I think if you need an anti drugs campaign this book is it! I know that is life for some people, I’m not naive, people have problems with drugs, and reading stuff like that makes me glad that I don’t and the people I love don’t.
I was told before I started reading the book that it was a difficult read and if I couldn’t handle the Scottish wording then there was no point in reading it. I admit, it’s hard, using ah for I and ken for know etc is a difficult mindset to get into but after a while the words kinda just merged into their standard state for me. But forever in my head I had a harsh Scottish accent going on for the guys. The best piece of advice I could give when reading this is just try to imagine the characters actually speaking, I could really hear them speaking, it was awesome!
I really recommend this book, I thought after I read Marabou Stork Nightmares that Welsh was an absolute genius but this has confirmed it. I have more books sat there on my shelf by him and they will have to be read soon!