10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
In which Danny Wallace's good bloke schtick starts to wear a little thin,
This review is from: Friends Like These (Paperback)
I liked this book. I did, really. Danny Wallace is an engaging enough writer and his tale of finding his childhood address book and tracking down the 12 people in it (not including the Michael Jackson fan club, though that features too) is often amusing and sometimes touching. But....
The trouble is, after the wonderfully life-affimring 'Yes Man' and the equally well-received 'Join Me', which I haven't read, this whole thing of a faux-naif modern man making the world a better place in his own small way is getting a bit overdone. Wallace knows it too: hence the many pointless digressions and often forced humour of this tale - Japanese English is a bit hilarious, isn't it, eh? The book is also dreadfully repetitive at times.
The other trouble is, it's all a bit too easy at times. Anyone can track a fair proportion of their old mates down these days what with Facebook, the net in general and a BBC expense acccount to fund flights to America, Australia and Japan in the space of a few weeks. Never once does Wallace admit the perfectly obvious truth that he saw this as his next book-writing project from the start. Nor does the premise that he has to do it all before turning 30 and becoming a boring middle-aged man ring true. His wife is clearly far too nice to force that on him.
I'll admit to a bit of jealousy here. I come from a generation where you inevitably lost touch with most of those friends who weren't reliable letter-writers if and when you moved away from your roots. Now that email has made letter-writers of us all and social networking keeps us in touch with everyone, that need not happen any more. Plus Wallace is obviously such an amiable man that he can get in touch with more lost friends than I ever had to lose in the first place. And he's a bit of a jammy dodger too, not just for a job that pays him to go round the world at the drop of a hat - I mean staying friends with your ex, whoever heard of such of thing?
Overall, then, good for a light read but if you can read 'Yes Man' instead. Or just go online and hunt down your old mates intead. And please, Danny, don't mine this exhausted seam any more.