It's the 1980s, Phil and Frank, fifth year meed students at the Mater, Brisbane, are best friends, they come as a "package deal" - and they work together part time at Ron Todd's World of Chickens where Frank fries chicken while Phil dressed in a chicken suit out front attracts custom.
But life is never simple. Frank's father would rather he join the family tree surgery business, and Phil's dream is to be a film maker. The World of Chickens is running at a loss, Frank appears to be having an affair with Ron's wife, and Phil won't admit he has it bad for Ron's daughter Sophie. Matters are made worse as Phil has the habit of inventing fictions to cover what he sees as lacking in his life. Lacking most is a steady girl, something that is not a problem for the uncomplicated Frank who always seems to have a steady.
As Phil tries to balance his studies, his work and his social life, he also finds himself acting as Frank's guide on morals, and as Ron's confidant in both business and personal affairs. On the home front he has to contend with his free thinking mother who embarrassingly gets the wrong end of the stick about his various relationships.
Former GP Nick Earls has a great sense for comedy, the writing is very good, the scenes boarder on but never fall into farce for there is a subtlety too to the writing and invention. Phil is an appealing and complicated character, Frank too as his appeal, but whereas Phil thinks his way through life Frank goes ahead and acts without too much forethought, but their friendship is solid and never in question. World of Chickens is a very funny, very entertaining read with a very human heart - I shall certainly be looking out more books by Nick Earl.