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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 24 December 2012
These are the random notes of an australian who has a massive number of house mates over the years, and has kept notes on them all. This is not a book for the squeamish, but if you like black humour, you will find many laugh out loud moments. Some examples to tempt you (or put you off!)
The room mate who lives in a tent in the lounge
The various squats and their living conditions
The titular room mate who literally died with a felafel in his hand
The goths next door and when their stereo got shot
The brown sofa, that ubiquitous item of late 20th century house shares
I loved this book, and so has everyone I lent it to.
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on 23 May 2017
Very funny and certainly reminds me some of my house shares long ago...
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on 9 January 2006
I first picked up this book a few years back on one of the many occasions I was locked out of my house I found myself in the tiny local library seeking shelter from the rain and Uni lecturers. I was seduced into removing it from a shelf of dull looking educational literature and novels you have to be over 75 to read. The gorgeously grotesque cover was enough to lull me into a false sense of security thinking I would only spend a few minutes reading it while waiting for my flatmates to arrive. How wrong I was this book is amazingly funny material and John Birmingham is a legend!! If there was a literary god of humour he would no doubt be..... Australian, and be full of 'life experiences' I kept turning the pages and before I knew what time it was I was being chucked out by a librarian (never thought I'd actually say those words). However it was incredibly difficult to get hold of a copy at the time, then in my quest to make it my own discovered a sequel 'Tasmanian Babes Fiasco' Again Fantastic!! Even better than the original!! I'm eagerly awaiting my copy of 'Weapons of Choice' & Dopetown. I know they won't disappoint. Can't praise enough!!! BUY! BUY! BUY!
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on 16 May 2001
The title of this book may be deceptive. This is not a murder, nor a horror story. It is a humorous, fast paced collection of student living stories. John Birmingham lived in a number of student houses in various Australian cities with a fantastic variety of people, most of whom had interesting and some might say frightening idiosyncrasies, which makes for some hilarious stories. Birmingham cleverly captures the mood of student houses where a bunch of young, poor, different and supposedly intelligent people have come together to live under one roof. Inevitably there are differences of opinion, some problems with hygiene and people who can't/don't pay the rent. The book also illustrates the lengths to which students will go to entertain themselves when they are sick of daytime television. Watch out especially for the tale of the cocktail party held by the pretty Tasmanian girls up the road, and the days of preparation that go into having one hell of an evening. A really good read for anyone that likes a good laugh.
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on 10 September 2012
Having had my share of share houses this book caught my eye.
At first the book was a little interesting and I thought it had potential. However it is not very well written, it skips around in time and the stories just seem repetitive after a while.
Drugs, drinking and more drugs.
There are a couple of funny moments, but mostly it's just the same - "Yay we took loads of drugs, acted like twats and someone had a bad trip so I left the house". Maybe I'm being a little harsh as I had high expectations on the variety of the stories but it definetly wasn't for me.
If you read Mr Nice (I haven't seen the movie so can't compare) and liked it, you will probably like this book. If you thought Mr Nice was a tool, you probably won't like this book either.
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on 30 January 2013
I first felt inclined to read this book after an article appeared on the BBC website regarding terrible flatmates, and this was quoted. After being mislead from reviews on this fine website that it would lead to laughter I duly purchased it and proceeded not to laugh for the remaining 214 pages, actually I lie, I only read 203 pages and then gave up.

It's difficult to comprehend the meetings between John Birmingham and Flamingo publisher but I'd fathom it went something like this: "So Mr Birmingham, I heard you've got a great idea for a book?", "Absolutely, you know how we all end up sharing flats or houses at some point or another, I thought I'd share some of those stories" , "Sounds good, give me some examples John", "O, they're all basically the same, I move into a degenerate house with a bunch of juvenile, drug taking bawbags, I describe how decrepit the place is, something unhygienic, dodgy and predictable happens and I then move out, wash, rinse, repeat" the publisher gives a puzzled look "Ok, but won't it get a bit repetitive and annoying?", "O no, don't worry, it'll be chronologically incomprehensible, I'll use the word 'cones' a great deal to sound cool, it'll also be randomly inter dispersed with other folks identically tedious tales, but in a different font or in a grey box so as to confuse the reader." "Brilliant"

I gave this book 2 stars because I'm sure there are worse books out there, I mean I haven't read Mein Kampf, but I'm sure it's pretty bad. My main issues with this book is that it's very repetitive, poorly edited and I ended up disliking all the characters. It could have been so much better, take for example "The Law of the Playground" by J Blyth, a similar set up of somebody trying to tell funny stories but about school, instead of one long stream of conciousness, it's made into an A to Z list, annotated, with multiple contributions and is hilarious. Although not an identical or an entirely translatable subject a very similar concept could have been employed here with house sharing. Avoid and buy the Law of the Playground instead.
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on 11 March 2006
i had this book forced upon me a by my best mate, i loaned him some CDs and he gave me this in return, i wasnt interested, but he implored me to read it. after reading a few pages i was absolutely enthralled, the story outlines the experiences of a guy in australian shaehousing up and down the east coast throughout the 80s/90s and is set out in the form of a group of short stories that all tie in with one another, he even has anecdotes from former housemates that share or dispute his claims as well as giving accounts on different events from their own experience. i have read the book over and over as it is such a great read. get a hold of it somehow and see for yourself, pure brilliance
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on 11 August 2013
I had no idea of this when I got the book of course, but once I read the story it was all a bit familiar - same place, same sort of time, same name (though wouldn't the author change the name?), same method of demise. When my friend told me about his death she said 'at least he died with a smile on his face', I didn't hear about a falafel, so maybe it wasn't the same bloke!
Anyway, yes, this book is a trifle repetitive, and not really that funny. Mostly I found myself thinking 'what kind of idiot puts up with behaviour like that?' and then of course the answer is staring me in the face - other idiots and assorted f*** ups.
Absolutely true what he said about Sydney being full of young people who were ex heroin users though. I got thoroughly tired of hearing yet another 'I used it for a few months' story.
If I did not know a fair bit first hand about the milieu he is referring to I think I would have to give it only 2**, it is just not interesting enough for a whole book.
Best consigned to the loo for a quick read during a number 2!
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on 20 November 1998
The intruiging title of this book led me to purchase it during a trip to Australia last year. The story deals mainly with losers sharing grotty housing in Brisbane, but sloppy habits are known the world over. I can recommend this book without reservation to all people who are seeking a good laugh (and NOT seeking shared accomodation--this book scared me off that idea for the rest of my life and made me profoundly thankful that I have never had to live in 'houseshare' conditions since college.) My favorite moment: The rat, of course. Not just ANY rat, though... A recommended, though not essential, prologue to the author's TASMANIAN BABES FIASCO, which I thought was even funnier.
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This book made me howl with laughter in parts and in others made me feel physically queasy. It brought back some nasty memories of house sharing that would have been better left supressed! The only thing I really didn't like about the book was the choppy style in which it was put together. It didn't really have any narrative flow and I found it easy to put down and not pick up again for ages because of that.
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