53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Eleven out of ten, 2 Aug 2010
Somewhat out of character for a bloke who can have a novel on the go for well in excess of a month, I lay in the garden and devoured Eleven in a weekend. I attribute this partly to the weather, partly to the fact that my girlfriend was otherwise detained but mostly to the quality of Watson's writing.
Anyone familiar with Watson as a comedian will be aware that his appeal is down to more than just him 'being funny'; he's humble enough to endear himself without being too self-deprecating and his insight can challenge your thoughts without seeming preachy. These aspects of his personality are naturally evident in his writing.
Eleven is the story of eleven people with little in common other than their geographic location and a single string of related events, invisible to everyone but the omniscient reader. It's also the story of one of those eleven having his arm twisted into being a better person, having a tangible positive effect on his world while around him the aftershocks of a previous bad decision rumble on, more disastrously than he would have ever imagined.
It's a romanticised view, to some extent, and Watson applies a degree of artistic licence but it remains honest because it undoubtedly reflects exactly the sort of chain reaction of actions and consequences that is going on around us all the time, undetectable from the viewpoint of someone on the inside looking out.
Ultimately, Eleven serves as a touching illustration of how decisions we make or fail to make can affect ourselves and others in ways we couldn't dream possible, causing you to ask yourself the simultaneous questions 'Could I be better?', 'Should I be better?' and 'Why do I bother?' Sometimes warming, sometimes upsetting, its humour is present but subtle and its insight is greater than any comedian has the right to possess.
I fear I haven't done Eleven justice but that's why Watson is the successful writer, rather than me. He could retire today and spend the rest of his life looking back at what is already a superb storytelling career. But I hope he doesn't.