Last week I got something magical with my mail: a sweet, warm and comfortable afternoon in a box.
As I told about it before, last month I finally decided to join a book subscription box, and it’s been a delight so far!
The first book I got was ‘Diary of a Somebody’, written by the popular “Twitter’-poet, Brian Bilston.
My first reaction when I saw the book in the box was: wow, what a lovely cover! It immediately made me want to curl up and read. It felt like a real special treat for hardcore readers and procrastinating writers. It also seemed to be the perfect book to read at a time when we’re all sentenced to stay at home – we might as well start to sit on the couch and read, right? It’s the PERFECT book for that!
It’s all a humbug, guys. I was sold the moment I saw the cat.)
I had a lingering feeling that I’d already heard about this book, or I maybe saw the cover somewhere, but I couldn’t remember the when and where, and I couldn’t remember any details… so in general we can state that I went in blind – knowing only what is written on the cover.
My expectations might have been a bit too high after seeing the cover, and getting sucked in its atmosphere. (
What? It HAS one! Yes, the cover. And the box with chocolate. And the whole idea.)
Now, it is a great book, and I enjoyed it very much. It simply hadn’t got that sweet and comforting atmosphere that I imagined. I wasn’t laughing out loud, either. But maybe all this would’ve been utopia. I did find it funny, it was quite entertaining, and I love the idea of a poet writing a diary. I loved the little, half-hearted, not-important, lightly mentioned details that told me about how the inspiration for a certain poem came. That is something unique for sure.
The characters were likable, though a bit less detailed and worked-out than my taste would’ve required. That’s only a me-thing, though, and not the book. This is simply not a novel where there’s place for deep-analyzing characters. It’s a fast, humor-based construction of random thoughts and poems that as a whole tells a story of a man. It’s a pretty impressionist type of description, and I would lie if I said I haven’t grown at least a bit fond of it. It’s great.
The story was mostly predictable, but the purpose of this book is obviously not to shock the reader with crazy plot-twists. There’s a little mystery line, a little love-arc, a little family drama, a little professional rivaling, but at the end of the day what’s essential to the story is how this hopelessly underachieving, socially awkward, frustratingly useless pun-manufacturer of a man would balance his life at the edge of middle-age. The diary notes are also relatively repetitive, though I think that might probably be on purpose: it shows the dullness and also the little things that define our (at least his) everyday life. Brian is something of an anti-hero, and that makes him, with all his little and not so little flaws, all our hero a bit. We all have a couple of his flaws, even if most of the time we don’t care to admit.
(P.S: I’m not sure the name of the cat was ever revealed, and I think I’m not okay with that. Like, I wanted her to be a person, and she ended up not even having a name. She was always talked about as “the cat”. That’s not how you properly talk about your pet, folks! She’s a family member. That’s not lack of quality writing, though, that’s my personal problem, I guess.)
Let’s Give It A Grade!
- Story: 4/5
- Characters: 4/5
- Style: 4/5
- The Subjective Factor: 4/5
- GPA: 4
The connection between the everyday happenings, the little things, and the poems – the ability to read about what might inspire a silly poem that seems like it came from nowhere.
Readers who understand the bittersweet, helpless humor and cynicism in always having ideas of what to read and/or write next, plan everything, and then staying sat on the couch, because it’s more comfortable to say the cat wouldn’t stand up from my lap and I had to drink another cup of coffee or tea anyway. There’s a couple of us here in the book blogging world, I guess.
English tea and brown ale. Not mixed!
Something from The Smiths. Because it’s the author’s choice, and I don’t have a fantasy.
I’d be up for reading the author’s poetry collection, and I followed him on Twitter. (He shares his poems there.)
Have you read this book? I’d love to see what all you guys thought about it!
Have a great day!