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Submarine

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  8,965 ratings  ·  665 reviews
The dryly precocious, soon-to-be-fifteen-year-old hero of this engagingly offbeat debut novel, Oliver Tate lives in the seaside town of Swansea, Wales. At once a self-styled social scientist, a spy in the baffling adult world surrounding him, and a budding, hormone-driven emotional explorer, Oliver is stealthily (and perhaps a bit more nervously than he’d ever admit) nosin ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 25th 2008 by Random House (first published 2008)
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RunawayFromHell I read it when I was 13 but I agree it is more appropriate for 15+ as the film adaption is a 15

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,965 ratings  ·  665 reviews


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Jo
Feb 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Ever wondered what it would be like if Wes Anderson got drunk on vodka and watched the entire box set of The Inbetweeners in one night?

Reader meet Submarine. Submarine meet reader.

Aah, and herein lies the conundrum.
For I really dislike The Inbetweeners (I know, I know… I have received many a horrified glare when I have divulged this information. I just don’t find it funny because I’m a horrible, stuffy prude) but I adore Wes Anderson.
This could have gone either way and I think I knew this risk b
...more
Raeleen Lemay
Aug 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This was such a strange, wonderful book.
Rebecca McNutt
One of those few cases where the film is much better than the book. :-(

Don't get me wrong, I loved the 2010 film Submarine, it was an amazing experience to watch. But the book? Well, I'm not much of a fan of pervy sex jokes or fart jokes, and at least the film spares viewers of those for the most part. The book had a number of lines that made absolutely no sense, trying so hard to be obscure and intelligent that it failed to get to any sort of point. It has its moments of true humor and good wri
...more
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Aug 31, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Algernon (Darth Anyan) by: saw the movie
Shelves: 2014

Things I've learned from Submarine (I planned to list 100, but I got tired of the game rather fast):

- you are a triskaidekaphobic if you are afraid of the number thirteen

- it's OK to spy on your parents in order to find out things about yourself ( I recently discovered that my mother has been typing the names of as-yet-uninvented mental conditions into Yahoo's search engine: 'delusion syndrome teenage', 'over-active imagination problem', 'holistic behavioural stabilizers'

- a nepenthe is somethi
...more
Toby
May 30, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit
Maybe it's just me but doesn't everything get compared to The Catcher in the Rye? A modern day version, a version crossed with Godzilla, Holden Caulfield on speed, best thing since sliced Salinger? I choose to discount these comparisons for three reasons: hyperbole, im always disappointed and most importantly, I distinctly remember finally reading it and wondering what all the fuss was about.

Joe Dunthorne's debut novel about teenage angst, alienation and rebellion in Swansea in the late 1990's w
...more
Charlie
Jun 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: boys aged around 15, teenagers who don't always fit in with their peers
I picked this up in a bookstore because it was at a discounted price and the first few pages really caught my attention. Oliver Tate as a smart albeit eccentric teenager struck a chord with me, and at first I felt I could relate to the character. I enjoyed the character's analytical view of the world around him and the humour that comes with it, but that's about where it ends.

Oliver Tate does things which most teenagers may threaten to do after an argument, but would never dream of doing in real
...more
Beatrice
Apr 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Oliver Tate is a Welsh teenager with a penchant for theatrics and complicated words. He is our narrator.

Our author, Joe Dunthorne, punctuates his book with clever turns of phrases, keeps his sentences succinct and uses natural phrases that flow together well. His writing is fantastic. He gives Oliver such a unique voice, making this entertaining and easy to read.

But there's an errant sadness that runs through this book. Oliver is coming of age and realizing that he cannot control his life--tha
...more
Camilla
Apr 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unhauled-read, 2015
Book #3 in #BookTubeAThon2015.

(Read an author who shares the same first letter of your last name.)
Stephen
this book started well but felt then it went downhill and wasn't really my cup of tea
Hossain
Aug 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes the coming of age tales and have a offbeat sense of humour
Recommended to Hossain by: The Great movie
In most cases books usually outshines their movie counterparts. At least, it seems to me. I thought I would never watch a movie that is arguably better than its source material. I have to say for this cases movie was better. But first I have to admit that I have watched the movie first and I was mind blown by it, especially in the “hiding tonight” song scene and in the ending. And obviously the soundtrack by Alex Turner was superb.
So first the complaints—
1. I basically didn’t get the title. The
...more
Rachel Louise Atkin
Sep 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
My experience of this book was too personal to write a review, but I loved it.
Ciara
Sep 23, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: stalk-y teenage boys, people who loathe dogs, teenagers obsessed with losing their virginities
Shelves: read-in-2008
i found this book tremdeously disappointing. it caught my eye at the bookstore, i guess because of the dust jacket. i'm a sucker for design, seriously. a jacket can make or break a book for me (see my review of ruined by reading for another example). however, i was smart & i exercised restraint. i left the book sitting on the shelf & got a copy from the library instead. thank god! it's the story if a disaffected welsh teenager, a boy. he suspects that his parents are having marital troubles, & t ...more
Allison
Jun 02, 2011 rated it liked it
I picked this up because I ADORED the film version. There are some pretty gaping differences b/w the two the biggest being that in the book, Oliver just kind of annoys me. In the film, he is much more sympathetic (though not relatable to me) and I do think the right scenes were left out of the film version.
The style was hilarious and I'm pleased at how very Welsh it all seemed. By that I mean I really got a sense of Oliver's place in his world and the place where he lives. I recommend you see th
...more
Kylie
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this in a matter of days, closed up in my stink hole (sink hole) of a room, coughing violently and slathering vaseline on my peeling lips. It comes at no surprise that this book reminded me of first love ended and turned into old love, parents, and dead dogs. This book is also a movie. I saw the movie roughly a year ago and received the book as a gift soon after that. I've been listening to the movie soundtrack ever since. It is one of the few constants in my life. Who am I kidding? Most ...more
Jessica
Feb 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quite frankly this was amazing.
Grace
Jun 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely worth reading if you haven’t already. Loved it.
Harley
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2-and-2-5-stars
2.5 Stars.

I was enjoying this, but then it went downhill quickly; I have quite a few issues with this one.

This book had a bit of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 with a bit of The Inbetweeners; that's not necessarily a bad mix, but it didn't feel very original.

The characters were really inconsistent and unlikable; one chapter they were acting and talking a certain way, and the next they felt like a different person. I just couldn't like them. There
...more
Nikki
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uno-2018
I wanted to like this, but I really couldn't get into it that well. It felt like the story wasn't really progressing that much and sometimes I would actually forget what I was even reading, because it all seemed so random and messy. Didn't live up to my expectations!
Varvara
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, read-in-english
I was bored out of my mind by this book. I guess it's a keen observation on how a teenage boy's mind works; but either I'm too tired of boys' coming-of-age stories, or this particular boy was just not that interesting (and mildly disturbing, too). And all the long, whatever-exam-they-need-to-study-them-for words in-between the curt, dull sentences became really annoying really fast.
CharlotteN
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an interesting book, which is very funny and relatable. I think it's definitely something I will read again in the future!
Michael
Mar 27, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2010, review
Review from Badelynge
Maybe if Joe Dunthorne's Submarine had clothed its covers with far fewer off the mark testimonials, I would have been a little more forgiving in my judgment of this book. But for the sake of balance alone somebody has to pooh-pooh all the best thing since Catcher in the Rye statements. To live up to such statements Oliver Tate (our narrator) would have to seem like a real character - but he never does. Maybe he was never meant to. Submarine sort of lives in a skewed reality
...more
Savannah Smith
Mar 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Oliver Tate is the most interesting character that I've ever read. Hands down.

I loved the way he thought in words. I loved his "words of the day". I smiled whenever I knew what one of the words meant, and it was nice to learn a new word when I didn't. I loved the British school boy humor and language.

I loved his way of thinking, even if it was extremely twisted at times. I love how he said everything that came across his mind, and it was so truly narrated. It was so nice to read a book where y
...more
Amy
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-books-read, ya
My first thought when I started reading this book was that I couldn’t relate to the 1st-person characters at all. And then I realized that he’s a complete sociopath. Back in my 20s, I had a very close friend that was kinda like this guy. Okay, okay. I was sorta kinda dating this guy. But he finally crossed a social and sanity line, and I just had to walk away. I started to realize that the things he joked about he was secretly serious about. But OMG. This is book is like stepping into that guys ...more
Meghan Schuyler
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(4.5 stars) This was a superb piece of literature. It was just the right dose of quirky without being pretentious, and it was hilarious without exploiting that factor. I was extremely amused during this entire novel, and though not a lot occurred it was compelling nonetheless. I have seen a few reviews that mentioned this, and have to agree that it is resemblant of The Catcher in the Rye with it's witty, troubled, male protagonist and somewhat lacking, yet gripping, plot. I will additionally app ...more
Cristy
I was in was in the mood for something that would make me laugh and for the most part, this read did the trick. Joe Dunthorne’s SUBMARINE is not the usual coming of age tale. To one extent Oliver Tate, of South Wales, is intelligent, awkward, funny, weird and quirky which is kind of typical of an adolescent protagonist character; but on the other hand he was so much more… I don’t know, off maybe? In fact quite unexpectedly, Oliver was a bit intense for someone his age, an over thinker and actual ...more
Andrew Woods
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was introduced to the novel through Ayoade's magnificent film adaptation. But the book met my fairly high expectations! I laughed throughout. Dunthorne has a talent for description and similes. The protagonist, Oliver, is an introspective, intelligent 16 year old who struggles to understand the motives and desires of others. He consistently fails in his attempts of psychologically adjusting his parents and girlfriend to how he feels the world should be arranged.
Oliver is a submarine that want
...more
Maia Robinson
Aug 12, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2015-books
you'll love this book if you're into:
- homophobia
- sexism
- racism
- fatphobia
- abuse (gender violence) apology
- abuse (bullying) apology
- rape apology
- pedophilia-related jokes
- religion-related jokes
Laura
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Odd to describe as it manages to be both well written and immensely dull. The characters are both sympathetically written and unappealing. Got to the end and it felt a bit like a waste of time.
Rachel
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
An instant favourite. Would be four and a half stars, but for me the ending lacked an undefinable spark of something in comparison to the rest of the book. Absolutely loved it all the same.
Negi Neguaien
Wonderful character study, awful story.

This book suffers from what I will now call "Dear Evan Hansen Syndrome", in which the main character is super interesting but morally unreliable and generally unlikeable, and there is no other likable character in the book (aside from this one throwaway boyfriend character, I guess, he had a few moral brain cells). There is no one to root for, so in a book that absolutely values characters over plot, my heartstrings are left rusty.

I read till the end in d
...more
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Joe Dunthorne was born and brought up in Swansea, and is a graduate of the University of East Anglia's Creative Writing MA, where he was awarded the Curtis Brown prize.

His poetry has been published in magazines and anthologies and has featured on Channel 4, and BBC Radio 3 and 4. A pamphlet collection, Joe Dunthorne: Faber New Poets 5 was published in 2010.

His first novel, Submarine, the story of
...more

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