Book Review: itv seven by James Durose-Rayner
itv seven is the second part of a trilogy which began with I Am Sam.
This second book picks up after the first, with central character Lee Janes taking on life in his own unique way, with his new wife Emily and new baby Sammy. Joining the roller-coater narrative are many of the characters from book one, so that the reader can easily slip once again into the world that Durose-Rayner creates.
As with I Am Sam, itv seven operates in both a fictional and factual context, with the main characters, the fictional creations, set against a factual backdrop – that of Arsenal FC during the 2014/15 season.
In the first book, the author also brings in the ‘real’ world through the documentaries made on ex-Arsenal player Jon Sammels, England in the 1970 World Cup and the Munich Air Disaster. This device is used again as there is a focus on Arsenal, in looking at the 1958/59 and 1972/73 seasons and a documentary focusing on the parallels between them, when the club threw away chances of achieving the league and cup ‘double’. There are also other football-lines such as the betting scandal surrounding Sheffield Wednesday in the 1960s. As a football fan, part of me wants more of that history and analysis, but the writing is clever in that the other plotlines are so compelling that you are caught up in the tempo and desire to find out what happens next in the fictional world of the book.
The story is told through Lee Janes and his ex-wife Jeanette, with chapters roughly split between the two. This enables the reader to see certain storylines from both Lee and his ex-wife’s viewpoint. Interestingly, it also provides an opportunity for Jeanette to reflect on her life with her ex-husband and it starts to fill in some of the background that was explored in the first book.
As with I Am Sam, itv seven has a great tempo, emotional depth and no little humour, which allied with strong plotlines makes it both engaging and absorbing and subsequently difficult to put down. The author also writes in a very visual style which could easily translate to the mediums of television and/or film.
It is a winning formula that Durose-Rayner has established and therefore readers should eagerly anticipate the final part of the trilogy, Queen of Cups.