16 Aug 2016

CONCENTR8.

CONCENTR8 by WILLIAM SUTCLIFFE.

BACK COVER BLURB: Troy, Femi, Lee and Blaze were looking for trouble, but not this kind of trouble. They didn't expect to get famous.

Now the world is watching to see what they will do next.

This is the story of what happens when angry, overlooked teenagers find themselves face to face with the powers that be. This is what happens when you take a city off its meds.

FIRST SENTENCE {Day One}: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is supposed to affect up to 10 per cent of young children (mainly boys).

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 13}: The dams broke and now everyone's angry about everything - I mean the anger ain't new it's letting it out that's new. Don't got words to describe it cause it's vicious and brutal but also innocent like a kid what lets out every feeling without even meaning to.

SOURCE: A GoodReads win.

MY THOUGHTS: If I had to sum up Concentr8 in two words those two words would be 'disappointing' and 'frustrating'. 

Backed by a pharmaceutical company and handed out in what I felt was a rather unorthodox manner Cocentr8, a fictional Ritalin type drug, is prescribed via school programmes to those children/teems deemed unruly only to be suddenly withdrawn - Why? We fully never know. 

Played out over six days and narrated by several different characters: the teens themselves, 'the hostage' kidnapped by the teens, 'the major', 'the journalist', the negotiator'. I'm not sure I ever connected with any of them despite each of them having their own very unique voice. A voice that in the case of Lee was without punctuation. A voice that rather than concentrating on what was being said meant I found myself mentally adding capital letters and full stops etc.

In many ways a scarily realistic read, what some see as the wholesale over-medication of children, obviously disenfranchised teens, riots that put one in mind the London riots of a few years back, actual excerpts taken from various medical journals/publications that proceeded every chapter. But I'm afraid for me, despite the fact that I can concur how easy it is is for things to become out of control, this is where the realism ended as I struggled with, amongst other things, not the fact that the government chose to medicate what it saw as some of its less desirable citizens (sadly, that I could well believe) but that  all of a sudden Concentr8 was withdrawn. 

Ultimately, an OK read but as I said disappointing and frustrating. 

Disappointing in that whilst this was to a certain degree a thought-provoking novel, knowing someone with the condition, try as I might to take the book for what it was rather than what it might be, I admit to having hoped  that the author might have addressed (even perhaps debased) some of the stigma surrounding those with ADHD. 

Frustrating in that I felt though the seeds of a idea were often sown, many of them never seemed to come to fruition, to be as fully explored as I would have liked. 


12 comments:

Kelly said...

I don't think this one would appeal to me even if you gave it a rave review. It's just not my type.

Brian Joseph said...

It is too bad that this book had so many shortcomings. As you allude to the issues that it deals with are worth exploring and also have the potential to make for a good book.

kimbacaffeinate said...

It does sound thought provoking and I get the author's intent, too bad the execution was flawed.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

It sounds like it could have been a really thought-provoking read. Sorry it didn't work for you and you never connected with any of the characters.

-Lauren

Natasha Hill said...

Ah, it's sad to hear this didn't address the situations surrounding ADHD as it's a really interesting and thought provoking subject, as you mentioned. I actually love the premise of this book so I will have to pick a copy up and see what I think! - Tasha

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

Given the very poor ratings and reviews both this book and just about all the others written by the author have received, I don't think you are alone in finding the storyline and writing style, disappointing to say the least.

I did check out the premises for other novels by the author and I have to say that I couldn't find a single one which really appealed to me, although I am wondering if that is simply an age thing, given the hard-hitting and controversial storylines he has tackled.

I do have to counter that by saying once again, that the issues touched upon are all very thought provoking and a sign of the times in which we live, but I like to think that I am broad minded enough to contemplate the points raised, if they were dealt with in a slightly more engaging way than these seem to have been.

As William is such a prolific author, I am guessing that perhaps the issues mean more to him, in that he wants to write about them in a personal way, rather than for the mass market?

Thanks for the honest opinions you offer up :)

Yvonne

Suko said...

Dang! Sorry this was disappointing. Thanks for sharing your honest and well-penned thoughts.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I can see why this is both frustrating and disappointing. It almost sounds like the author had the intention to say one thing and then went in another direction. I don't think this one is for me, but brilly review!

Gingi Freeman said...

Great post my friend, thanks for sharing! <3 - http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

An interesting title and cover for sure! I am sorry you didn't enjoy it more- but loved hearing your honest thoughts. Thanks for sharing! :)

Melliane said...

Oh i'm sorry you felt like that about the book. I didn't know about it but I think I'll pass

ClaudineGueh@CarryUsOffBooks said...

Oh too bad cos I thought the story idea is interesting and potentially realistic. Too bad it never fully played out.