Notes: The following review is written by Sarah Ward who reviews crime fiction at Crimepieces.
Review: The three years at university can be life changing experience for many students. Friendships are forged and long-term relationships begin before students are let out into the wide world of work. But is can also be a disorientating time, when fragile confidence is easily shattered and there are bewildering new hurdles to cross every day. David Belbin’s book Student recounts the experience of Allison, who comes from a town near Liverpool and takes up a place at university in Nottingham. We see her troubles and adventures from the day of her A-level results to the end of her final exams.
On the day of her A-level results, Allison has to fend off a sex attack by a friend’s father. This sets the tone of the book – Allison is both bewildered and disgusted by the attack and the reader is left with the impression of Alison’s fragile sexual confidence. Nevertheless, once at Nottingham, Allison approaches student life with a bravery which is admirable and makes friends, finds lovers and discovers a place for herself in university life.
Belbin is excellent at portraying the often split nature of early student life – the constant shifting of focus between your home town and university accommodation. The loneliness of student life is also well portrayed and how disorientating new experiences can be, especially when they come one after another.
I thought Allison was very well developed as a character and the men in her life, seen through her eyes, were a realistic mixed bunch. The book was developed from a number of short stories written by the author, which was surprising as the novel form flowed very well. Although written for a young adult market, I’m pretty sure this book would appeal to anyone who was ever a student. Most will think themselves lucky that they will never have to go through those years again.