What is "slam"? Well, in skateboarding it describes a crash or accident that leaves the skater messed up, battered, wounded. So, in this novel it is quite a "slam" for the protagonist when he and his girlfriend wind up accidentally pregnant.
One amazing thing about Nick Hornby is his ability as an author to create a distinctive narrative voice. With this novel the reader can hear the narrator as though he were talking directly to the reader. There is a very oral sense to the narrative. Although I could not picture the protagonist, I realized at the end of the book I probably never tried to picture him. He describes his girlfriend, and the reader can picture her, but the narrator is not a self-conscious one. He does not think of himself really in terms of his surroundings (people, etc.), and in that way Hornby really got the teenage voice down. Sam, the protagonist describes his moment-to-moment feelings and urges, often awkward, irreverent and illogical.
For a story about teenage pregnancy apparently aimed at a teenage audience (I checked the book out from the library from the young adult section), this novel walks a fine line between preachy cautionary tale to joking, not so-serious anecdote. Another amazing thing about Nick Hornby is his ability to show the humorous side of any situation. Several times during the reading of this novel I found myself laughing outloud at what would seem the most inappropriate times. For this reason, it might seem that Hornby is making light of a serious situation. However, obviously the novel is meant to entertain, not admonish, and if adults are really going to commuicate with teens/young adults, haven't they got to use a language that will be understood? There again Hornby succeeds with this novel.
My personal favorite line in the whole book that made me laugh outloud occurs when the protagonist, Sam, dreads having a conversation with his girlfriend. They have met in a Starbucks and Sam is waiting in line, postponing the inevitable. He hopes that the people in line ahead of him have the most complicated drink orders ever, so that they take longer. Hornby writes, "I wanted someone to order a cappuccino with all the bubbles taken out by hand, one by one" (80).