In case you hadn’t noticed by now, I am a huge fan of Irvine Welsh for quite some time now. So much so, that for my 18th birthday I received three copies of Trainspotting from three different people and what could I have done but read it five times?
The 1996 movie adaptation of the book has become a cult classic, and the shenanigans of Renton, Spud, Sick Boy and Begbie are well known inside my age group. But as good as the movie is, and it is is very good, it doesn’t hold a candle to the book in my opinion.
The book focuses on the lives of a group of friends from Leith, Edinburgh, three of which are deep into a heroin addiction. Irvine Welsh entwines the seriousness and sadness of their dependence with humorous, satirical elements in such a way that I laughed out loud through a good portion of the book each time I read it.
The evolution of the characters, like mirroring Renton exiting the heroin addiction and Tommy getting deeper into it, Sick Boy’s resolutions and his obsession with Sean Connery, Spud’s innocence to a certain point, somehow always gives me the feeling of hopefulness that in the end, everything will be OK.
All in all, I wholeheartedly recommend you this book, even though I am a bit biased being my favorite author and all. But not taking that into consideration, Trainspotting is a great book for those out there enjoying a good sick laugh. As one critic said, “this book should sell more copies than the Bible,” and I think that sums it up pretty good.
PS.1: to get a better feel of the book, I recommend you read the English version of it written in a Scottish dialect
PS.2: if you enjoyed this book as much as I did, you should not miss the first part of the story of Renton, Begbie, Spud and Sick Boy, named Skagboys