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on 24 July 2014
Danny Wallace is the foremost exponent of `Bet Non-Fiction' that I know. This is when a bloke says something daft in the pub and follows through; Wallace has started his own cult, his own nation and said Yes to absolutely everything. However, some things are fine as a quirky adventure in the real world, but following people around London and copying their every move? That sounds a little like stalking to me and should perhaps be best explored in the world of fiction. In a world like Danny Wallace's new novel `Who Is Tom Ditto?'

Is it the Tom who works as a news reader for a London based talk radio show? One day he returns home to find a note from his girlfriend saying that she has gone, but not left him. What on Earth does that mean? Tom decides to investigate where Hayley has disappeared too and soon finds a secret club whose members wish to be someone else. Can Tom enlist the help of the eccentric Pia to search for his girlfriend and will he find out more about himself in the meantime?

The great things about all of Wallace's books, both fiction and non-fiction, is the heart. Wallace has a wonderfully warm way of writing that is witty and intelligent, always making you feel uplifted by the end. `Tom Ditto' is his darkest project to date and builds upon the fine work seen in his first work of fiction `Charlotte Street'. That book was about someone finding a disposable camera and using the images to find the women who dropped it; `Tom Ditto' takes this concept of mild stalking and builds upon it.

At its heart `Tom Ditto' is a mystery novel. There may be no murders, but there is certainly a missing person. What has happened to Hayley? The book takes a while to warm up and actually start telling us, we have to get through Tom's anger and denial before he reaches some acceptance and start to do something about it. At this point the book opens up. The idea of following strangers is a dark one, but Wallace uses it to show wonder. Where is that dapper gentleman going? Are that couple married or having an affair? The middle third of the book is a joyous adventure as Tom and Pia set out on adventures of discovery, not unlike those seen in Wallace's non-fiction outings.

It may be that the premise for `Tom Ditto' is a non-fiction concept that Wallace rejected. How can he possibly follow people unwittingly and write about it? By moving the idea into a work of fiction he can explore the idea and create characters too. It is in this area that Wallace has developed more than any other. Tom is a rounded character whose fight with depression adds yet another layer to the book. All of a sudden this is not a book about a jolly series of adventures, but damaged people finding one another after apparently lacking something in their own life.

There is a darkness that permeates the book at times, but that is offset nicely by Wallace's deft use of humour. The Talk Radio elements of the novel are very amusing and the inane work emails cut a little close to the bone at times. There is also one excellent side thread that secretly hides that. Wallace uses real intelligence to weave elements of the story together.

`Who is Tom Ditto' is Danny Wallace's most accomplished book to date, but perhaps not his best. Its slow start and darkness means that it lacks the sheer joy I loved from `Charlotte Street' and `Yes Man'. What it does show is a real progression in style that suggest he is not far from hitting the right balance between heart and character development. Check out `Tom Ditto' and the body of Wallace's work, this is an author who is one to watch in the coming years. Review originally on
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on 30 April 2014
I love Danny Wallace. I might even go so far as to say he’s one of my favourite writers of all time. Charlotte Street was in my top five books from last year. I was so very happy that his newest, Who is Tom Ditto? didn’t disappoint.

Like a few other reviewers, I too was a bit confused at the start of the book. You’re thrown right into the middle of Tom’s own confusion; his girlfriend Hayley is gone but she hasn’t left him. How can that be? Where did she go?

Who is Tom Ditto? follows Tom as he tries to piece together the reason behind his girlfriend’s disappearance. Along the way he meets a group of very special individuals, including an impish girl called Pia who might just change his life. As Tom grows closer to Pia and to the truth behind Hayley’s departure, the hilarity just grows greater.

For me, the thing that appealed the most in this book was just how very normal Tom (and his life) was. I absolutely loved the bits with Tom at work at the radio station — particularly his feud with co-worker Leslie (the Jam Nazi), and the passive aggressive emails sent around by HR. Honestly, it’s not far off from my own office life!

Who is Tom Ditto? is a heartfelt novel that just about everyone can relate to in its ordinariness and the magic to be found in the everyday. This book had me snickering smugly on the bus, knowing full well that no one else was reading anything as intelligently funny as I was. Now this little gem is out there for the masses to pick up and, I’ve no doubt, they will.

Thank you to the publishers for supplying an advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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on 24 February 2015
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, more so than I had expected going into it. The premise of the novel is interesting, but not very interesting. A guy returns home to find a note from his girlfriend telling him that she left, but she didn't leave him. That's it. There's no information on where she went, or with who, or when she's planning on coming back.

Tom, a radio host, decides to investigate the disappearance of his girlfriend, Hayley. He takes offense on her sudden departure, and finds it unlikely that she didn't actually "leave" him. In his journey of finding out where she left and who she's been in contact with before she left, he finds himself in the midst of a strange support group - of sorts. They "follow" people they find interesting and imitate them for the duration that they are following them (and that duration could vary), so if that person is having a tuna melt at a cafe, they'll order the same thing, they'll pay the same exact amount, and even tell the same stories (if they are close enough to hear them speak). It sounds bizarre and very creepy, yes. Tom, thinks so too. He is astounded to find out that Hayley was part of that group, and leaves in a rush, only to be followed by Pia.

In the next weeks, Tom and Pia form a very strange friendship based on her following him, and even gets him to join in on her adventures of following people. These adventures lead Tom to meeting an abundance of new and interesting people, experiencing new things, and even improves his career immensely. He almost forgets about his problems with Hayley...almost. And just when he was starting to find his footing again, Hayley barges back into his life.

He thought he had Hayley all figured out once he found out about her habit of following people to the point of impersonating them completely, but upon her return, he soon finds out even more than he ever bargained for.

I found the humor of Danny Wallace very entertaining and clever. I loved the characters, and I loved the relationship between Tom and Pia. The conclusion was absolute perfection in my opinion, and I'm glad Wallace tied all the loose ends the way he did. I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Great entertainment. Highly recommend this book.
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One day, Tom, a radio presenter, returns home and finds a strange note left by his girlfriend. She says that she has gone, but that she hasn't left him. What could she mean? Tom tries to piece together what has happened, hoping to work out where she has gone and if she will come back.

It's a strange book really. The first section is intriguing and actually quite dark, as we see how Hayley's disappearance affects Tom. He tries to work out what has happened, contacting Hayley's friends and colleagues, and there's a slightly sinister undercurrent to it all as we find that several people knew she was going away (she even had a leaving party at work, unknown to Tom) and further clues lead Tom to contact individuals who were clearly involved in some way, but they're unwilling to give any information.

Suddenly though the tone changes, and in some ways it felt as though Danny Wallace lost the confidence to continue in this direction. The second half of the book has a huge tonal shift, and it actually feels a bit like Wallace has tried to write a lighthearted book about stalking! As another reviewer mentioned, possibly Wallace had planned to write one of his non-fiction "Join Me"-type books about following people around before realising it's a bit of a creepy concept, then decided to turn it into a novel. Sure, in fiction form it's a strangely enjoyable read, but it felt disjointed compared to the first part of the book, rather silly (a secretive group of wannabe stalkers who call themselves "CC" and meet in a Holiday Inn - really?) and not as satisfying. By the end everything is neatly tied up, and there's a rather slushy ending, but although it's perfectly enjoyable the book could have been so much better.
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on 28 May 2014
It's fair to say I was intrigued enough by the haphazard nature of the blurb to want to read Who is Tom Ditto? It sounded like a fun, quirky read and I'm always on the look out for something a little bit different to the norm.

The whole 'following' thing was slightly freaky-I have actually found myself looking over my shoulder as I walk around Morrison's, for fear that someone is going to buy the same teabags and own brand Custard Creams as me- but made for an interesting and unusual plot. The whole premise of CC was uncomfortable and yet strangely alluring. I guess we all have that nosiness deep within us where we model ourselves on ours choices and actions.

Who is Tom Ditto? reads very much like Danny Wallace's other books-fluid in style, conversational text, observational humour and quick quips. It is a very accessible book, and I can imagine it appealing to those who don't read a lot as well as avid readers. The characters, especially Pia, had me longing to know more, infact I think Pia deserves another book all of her own-she is fantastically barmy. I think I actually want to be her.

I really love the whole 'Britishness' of this book, I can't see that it would work if it were set anywhere else. There are eccentricities which add depth to the story, along with a serious issue of relationship break ups (or not), yet overwhelmingly this is a story of humour in the midst of despair.

This is a fresh, well written novel with hidden depths. Ideal for fans of Mike Gayle and William Boyd.
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This is Danny's second fiction book and is very good- a lot deeper than Charlotte Street. I like the fact it approaches some harder issues- never taking them full on, but never ignoring them either. The characters are good, even if the premise of CC is a bit 'out there'. In fact, I was well on the way to give it 5 stars- except- the ending. It was a lot weaker than I thought, than I hoped.

Despite this, I still whole heartedly recommend this. And no, Danny is not paying to write this. (He can if he wants though!!)
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on 3 August 2014
It's not often I'll describe a book as a real page turner, as I often struggle with fiction. Liking Danny Wallace and his writing style, I gave this a go. And... it's a real page turner. Clever, well written, nicely paced and really interesting. It makes some nice observations on contemporary culture and our lifestyles, whilst remaining entertaining and "non preachy". The ending is beautifully written and really quite compelling. Fantastic stuff and a hearty recommendation from me.
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on 18 July 2014
Haunting ! Couldn't stop reading , however much I wanted to. Curiosity got me to the end.
Well written and carefully sketched , unusual, characters follow each other through the unexpected plot.
One of those books that remain in the brain waiting their chance to reemerge
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on 4 July 2014
This is the most original and thought provoking book I have read in a long time, and also one of the most compellingly written. It is hard to define its genre - partly mystery, partly comedy, partly a novel about modern society. It is really hard to review this book without giving any of the plot away, so I won't say much. It is the story of a young man who reads the news and weather on local radio, and the impact on his life of his live-in girlfriend leaving. Or rather, not leaving. It is about what happens to him, and the influence this one act has on his life. It is so, so readable and will leave you feeling sad when it ends - simply because it has ended.
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on 13 August 2015
This book had lots of promise. I have read some of Danny Wallace other no-fiction books and loved them. So I was excited to read this book. The Blurb on the cover gives it lots of praise. It started well, Tom, the main characters girl friend has left him without a hint of why. In seeking answers he meets a strange girl called Pia. All good but it then looses it way and its all a bit of muddle. Great start but sloppy towards the end.
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