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The Boy with the Perpetual Nervousness: A Memoir of an Adolescence

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  96 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Graham Caveney was born in 1964 in Accrington: a town in the north of England, formerly known for its cotton mills, now mainly for its football team. Armed with his generic Northern accent and a record collection including the likes of the Buzzcocks and Joy Division, Caveney spent a portion of his youth pretending he was from Manchester. That is, until confronted by someon ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 3rd 2018 by Pan Macmillan (first published August 10th 2017)
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Tom L
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was taught by O'Neill. He was highly intelligent (like Savile), which is why he was able to fool us all. Everyone thought he was a great guy, but he was living a lie. I never imagined that he could have been capable of such evil. This respected Catholic priest was actually Satan in human form.

I admire Graham for having the courage to write this book. It is disturbing to think that there may have been other victims. O'Neill should have been prosecuted for his crimes, but it's too la
...more
David Lindsay
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s rare that I pick up a work of non-fiction, and if I do it tends to be written by someone I know or admire. Stuart Maconie’s ‘Pies and Prejudice’, for example. I’m so glad that I made an exception with this book which, whilst it isn’t always easy reading, I found to be quite remarkable.

It’s extremely well written – flowing prose and thoughtful diction – and it reminded me of Maconie’s dive into the depths of north-west town life in its background commentary. Caveney’s memory of h
...more
Amy Alice
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
I really enjoyed this book, if you can enjoy a book about abuse? Really clever, funny writing style and I underlined a lot of it. So honest, brutal at times, but very moving. I adored the literary references, less so the music (not my era). And I identified with a lot of the inner debates about class, and one's place in the world, especially the chasm when you come back from university to see that home has not changed, but you have. A lot to take from it for everyone I think. Also a pleasure to ...more
Wendi
To be honest, I believe I was initially attracted to this memoir because of both the excellent cover and the excellent title (which is, apparently, a line from a song).

My lack of knowledge about the title is indicative of how very many of the musical references I failed to understand or relate to. I did, at least, better recognize many of the literary references and discussions.

Although none of that really matters.

Because if you've loved a particular artist or song or author or novel, you'll
...more
Jason
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Writing a review of this book is very difficult.

The subject matter is harrowing and gut-wrenching. The fact that I was only a year behind Graham at SMC, and so knew the same priests and teachers, makes it all very close to home. The revelations are stunning.

However, the book is expertly written and I could not put it down. The examination of the working-class North and what happens when someone transcends their roots is hilariously and tragically accurate.

From
...more
Helen
I found the writing style of this book hard to get into (a swirling onslaught of words and imagery versus the more straightforward afterward), but the moments of abuse, the emotional trauma and the long-standing guilt, still manage to punch you in the gut. I'm glad I had the background of this article before reading this. A raw and terrifying insight into the brutality and impact of sexual abuse.
Peter Leeson
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I have read in a long time. Emotional, funny at times, beautifully written. The author illustrates beautifully the mind of a troubled teenager and young adult who goes through a life changing experience.
Bookreporter.com Biography & Memoir
THE BOY WITH THE PERPETUAL NERVOUSNESS is a gut-wrenching memoir about a teenage boy who is sexually abused by the person he looks up to the most, the one his parents admire, and who seduces him with access to great works of art. This man is Graham Caveney’s most trusted mentor --- his priest.

Father Kevin O’Neill is the headmaster of the catholic school that Caveney attends. “Rev Kev” is the person he becomes behind closed doors, when alone with Caveney, a young and impressionable bo
...more
David Withers
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mixed emotions at finishing this book. Lots of warm, sentimental memories from reading about my school in the 70s and 80s. It was great to be reminded of all the teachers, local towns, pubs, music, films and politics that I grew up with, delivered with the northern humour that reminds me of home. But gut churning horror at the sexual abuse of its writer, Graham, one of my fellow pupils, at the hands of our head and my own form teacher, who I had put on a pedestal and previously regarded as one o ...more
Rachel
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At the start of the book, Graham is reminiscing about his childhood and wonders at what point did his abuser decide he was going to molest Graham. Graham talks about his feelings as a teen and as an adult in a brutally honest manner. The Boy with the Perpetual Nervousness has moments of humor which makes this book bearable to read since it is about a very dark subject. Graham explains what it was like to grow up in a Catholic family in Accrington, England and his teenage years after being molest ...more
Sally Ewan
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Wow, do I like the way Caveney writes. He is funny and straightforward without tipping into the bitter sarcasm of a man at last call. Instead, the edge to his memoir comes with a self-scrutinizing honesty. "If I was abused during a period of my life that I know to be experienced by people who weren't abused as still volatile, traumatic, and confusing, then to what extent are those feelings specific to my abuse? Only a nonabused me would be able to solve this fucking riddle, and a nonabused me wo ...more
Shannon
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A heartbreaking and intelligently written memoir of childhood innocence stolen. This book will leave you reeling with the injustices of how adults enable and protect the reputation of peers over protecting children, of the damage they leave behind, and how it is still all too prevalent today. Reminiscent of Jim Carroll's Basketball Diaries.
Patricia
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a memoir written with clever humor but it includes the serious effects of sexual-abuse-by-priest. That said, I found it enjoyable and enlightening to read.
Cristy
Oct 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
TW for sexual abuse. This one is full of snark and pain.
Katherine
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Erudite, sublime and absolutely honest. The best book I've read this year and I've read some cracking stuff. Juts a must read for everyone, somehow.
Marcel Johannes
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not as harrowing and gut-wrenching as Paper Cuts: A Memoir "The real Horror"

I am in full agreement with the review of David lindsay

Rachel Louise Atkin
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
I read this memoir because Graham Caveney co-wrote one of my favourite ever essay collections and I was eager to learn more about his life and how he came to develop the interests he did. What I wasn’t expecting was to uncover his painful and abusive upbringing that he writes about with both humour and tenderness. His passion for music and literature is so inspiring and it was heartbreaking to read about how such a horrific person could manipulate his emotional intelligence and drive to learn ab ...more
David Chew
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Feb 14, 2019
J D MALLINDER-SMITH
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Sep 14, 2017
Rev Marcus Bull
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Sep 22, 2019
Ann
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Oct 09, 2018
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Aug 19, 2019
Thorsten
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Sep 09, 2018
Beth
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Dec 23, 2018
Ian Chamberlain
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Feb 25, 2018
Kerri
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Jan 03, 2018
Jane Peach
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Jun 08, 2018
Miss EL BOWLER
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