Review: Naughty Boy, Eddy Brimson

In 2019 author and comedian Eddy Brimson’s play Naughty Boy made its debut at the Edinburgh Festival. Now almost two years later, Brimson has released a novella of the same name, an extended version of his critically-acclaimed play. 

Naughty Boy focuses on Joe, who tells his story from the canteen of a mental health unit. It’s a story of his life, of a trip to Blackpool, a football match, and a lot of violence. It’s a story that will shock you and certainly stay with you long after you’ve finished reading. 

Eddy Brimson’s writing style is incredibly poetic, and the short, sharp sentences instantly draw the reader in, almost lulling them into a false sense of security as the grim events come to light. Naughty Boy is a fast-paced, impressive read, but it’s certainly not a story for the faint-hearted. Brimson cleverly weaves dark humour throughout the piece, which only makes the more violent scenes more alarming. 

Brimson has written previously on the subject of football hooliganism, and his knowledge is evident with the description of Joe and his friends and their ill-fated trip to a football match – anyone who’s ever been to the football will recognise the characters and certainly some of their behaviour. What’s so clever about Naughty Boy is that it’s relatable, even to those outside of the game. It’s an examination of nature vs nurture, and Joe speaks so casually about the events that transpire that some of his actions are almost normalised. He’s a complicated character, with a lot of built-up anger inside of him, but as he draws the reader into his world you realise there’s no one event that made him this way, which makes it all the more chilling. 

At just over 100 pages long, Naughty Boy is a gripping read that certainly leaves the reader wanting more. The story couldn’t be more relevant with its discussion of men’s mental health and politics, particularly given current events. Naughty Boy is a thought-provoking story, with the tension building beautifully throughout, culminating in a shocking ending. A raw and incredibly powerful read, this is not to be missed. 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Naughty Boy is out now.

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