Bookcase Project: Book 9 – The Rainbow Singer By Simon Kerr

Book 9: The Rainbow Singer By Simon Kerr, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2001


I bought this book for twenty pence from a library sale about three years ago. As a first novel it didn’t rate too badly. The story is set in 1985 and is about a 14 years old Northern Irish lad called Wil who just happens to be a Loyalist terrorist. Naturally, this means the ‘adventures’ that take place when he’s involved with a project in which ten Protestants and ten Catholic teenagers are sent to the States for a month aren’t all that nice and neat. Unsurprisingly he falls for a Catholic lass and things start to get nasty when he is egged on by his host’s son – a freaky, gun obsessed, hunk of muscle called Derry. And things don’t improve when he finds out one of his mates is gay. I have to admit, it was a tad odd reading about a fourteen year old lad having sex with another fourteen year old lad in a loo cubicle. When I was fourteen, sex was still foreign to me. It’s a nice easy read, with Wil going off on one about something academic and intense every now and then. It’s also made obvious from the beginning that our wil is in the slammer, which made me want to flick to the back to find out what the kid did. I didn’t flick to the back but I have to say what he did isn’t pleasant. But hey, what can you expect from a rough as fuck 14 year old terrorist? Kerr treats us every now and then with some nice images – in between the slagging off of Catholics and the jerking-off – like, The early part of the ten-hour journey in the belly of this aluminium sky whale was a smooth one. Wil doesn’t have a good relationship with his folks, and that is made crystal clear with the little communication he has with them during his stay in the States. He talks to his dad for the last time while he is overseas, which for me bought up many images of Wil’s life after the shit hits the fan at the end of the book. And I like it when a book can do that. When it can leave you thinking about the life of the character after the last page is turned.