Amy Reads Books

Noughties - Ben Masters

Noughties is the story of Elliot Lamb, who has just finished studying English at Oxford and is having a celebratory night out with all his friends-with the novel being split into Pub, Bar and Club. However, there is plenty of unfinished business between Elliot and his friends Ella and Jack in particular-and his ex-girlfriend Lucy is continually trying to get in touch with him.


Masters' writing is generally pretty good, he definitely brings to life the university experience and all the anxiety and nerves that come along with it-which I can imagine are exacerbated at the very top universities. However, the plot just wasn't really that strong and it felt as though a lot of the 'twists' weren't really tied up that well.
Interestingly, I felt that his characterisation was strongest when dealing with his female characters-surprising, considering Elliot's treatment of them-but I found Ella and Lucy in particular to be the most interesting characters. Especially the latter, who I just felt sorry for.

My main problem with this novel as that the protagonist just didn't appear to have any redeeming features. Whilst he occasionally acknowledges the fact that he has a chip on his shoulder about attending state school before going to Oxford, and that he doesn't always portray people well-Elliot just did not seem like a good person. I felt that it was unclear whether Masters intended this increase in snobbery to be a warning about the current university system or not. Instead, I just became distracted by the similarities between Elliot's experience and that of Ben Masters himself-both from the Northampton area and both studying at Oxbridge-that I began to worry that the novel was almost autobiographical and that maybe Masters was kind of a jerk as well.