While the entire world was focused on London for the Summer Olympics, I decided to whip out the British novel “The Alternative Hero.” Author Tim Thornton paints a vivid picture of a thirty-something Clive Beresford, who was an alternative kid in the 90s. He went to all the big festivals with his best friend Alan Potter, he authored a fanzine, and he worshipped the Thieving Magpies, the (fictional) premiere British alternative rock band of the early 90s. In 1995, the Magpies seemingly threw it away at the Aylesbury Festival, their career ended, and Clive never got over it. Fast forward 15 years and Clive finds himself in a dead-end job, underpaid, with an annoying roommate. His childhood friends are all successful, and he can’t figure out what happened. He then finds out that Lance Webster,lead singer of the Thieving Magpies, moves in down the street from him.
What’s it like to have your childhood hero for a neighbor? Lance soon finds out that it’s stressful, depressing, and hysterically funny at times. Clive alienates Lance shortly after he moves in, but quickly realizes that if he can figure out what happened at Aylesbury, he can move on with his life.
The entire story takes place amidst a backdrop of all things 90s and British – if you were a music fan, and around for the British wave of the 90s, you will love this book! Britpop, alternative, NME, Reading, Oasis, the BBC, mixtapes, and even Gene are all referenced here. The story takes a dizzying number of twists and turns in the relationship between Clive, Lance, and Alan, and the ending will have you glued to your seat as it unfolds.