Popsugar Reading Challenge 2023 Prompt #37

I’m a reading geek and have always been, so there aren’t really any books that I should have read at school and missed. For this prompt, I picked a book that I am teaching this year for the A Level Elements of Crime unit and that I hadn’t read – Brighton Rock by Graham Greene.

What it’s about?

A gang war is raging through the dark underworld of Brighton. Seventeen-year-old Pinkie, malign and ruthless, has killed a man. Believing he can escape retribution, he is unprepared for the courageous, life-embracing Ida Arnold. Greene’s gripping thriller, exposes a world of loneliness and fear, of life lived on the ‘dangerous edge of things’.

What I think:

I really enjoyed this book!

As I was teaching it, I must admit that I spent longer reading it than I might have otherwise. I’ve also read some context and critical analysis, which I found really interesting.

Pinkie is a fascinating character. Some chapters I think he is a sociopath who lacks any empathy, and other chapters, I feel a sense of pity as he is a product of his environment and the poverty-stricken slums of 1930s Brighton.

The character I gave thought about most is Rose. At just 16, she comes from the same poor background as Pinkie. Inexperienced and naive, she is presented as an innocent victim who finds herself inadvertently drawn into Pinkie’s world. But is she as innocent as I first thought? As the book progresses, she definitely appears to be far more savvy than she is given credit for.

Brighton is a great setting for the book, and Pinkie’s dark crime and Catholicism are juxtaposed with Ida’s good nature, kindness, and courage. She is relentless in her investigation to discover what happened to Hale and her attempts to save Rose from Pinkie.

This is a really good read and a great text to teach as there are so many elements to analysis. My students have really enjoyed it so far too, which is always a bonus.

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