If you're in need of a good read I strongly suggest the Rotters' Club by Johnathan Coe. Riveting, hilarious, revealing and hard to put down, this novel sums up life for four struggling friends growing up in Birmingham circa 1970. The novel reveals a lot about what life could be like in another country and how children can grow up in such different worlds, even when they are in the same vicinity. Coe is brilliant at effectively weaving the lives of the main characters with the politics of England. There is just enough political segments to educate without boring the reader and detracting from the story. The length is just over four hundred pages and goes by very quickly since you won't be able to put the book down. The story shifts viewpoints often which makes it slightly difficult to follow but very easy to relate to since there are many characters to get to know. You are taken on a journey of how the kids touch the lives of others and in turn are affected by their families, friends, classmates, and political happenings. Coe employs everything in his arsenal to evoke every emotion possible in his readers and has remarkably succeeded. The Rotters' Club takes you for an emotional ride and leaves you laughing, smiling, angry, and even crying. I am greatly looking forward to reading and reviewing the sequel The Closed Circle.