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Yet another "hilarious" A-Z....
on 28 August 2008
Yes, I'm growing tired of these endless "A-Z" style books too, whether they be about sh** things, brilliant things, foreign things, funny things, sad things, things to do, things not to do and now, an A-Z of typically British hilarities.
For typically read stereotypically.
I approached this book with an open mind however and now, after completing it, a few wry smiles and a lot of ywans down the line, I honestly wonder how long it'll be before we see a book entitled "An A-Z Of Is It Just Me Or Is Everything An A-Z" or some other self-referential compilation of pungently observed witticisms from what surely must be an army of ghost writers creating these mostly lightweight tomes of little mirth or worth.
Sure this book made me smile a few times as I said, particularly the frequent referrals to celebrity whingers, and their utmost desire to leave the country at the drop of a hat, and the sections in the book, (organised as you'd expect an a to z to be, in four paragraph or so sections for each aspect of Britishness) on Vesta and Pot Noodle meals - once my sole digestive satisfier.
But for every moment I'd smile, there'd be a section of the book I'd find dull, like the poor attempt at making cricket seem funny, which fails even though the author takes a sarcastic viewpoint of the "sport", and things like puddings, and class, and beefeaters, and bulldogs and probably every other dull and stereotypical "British" thing you can think of that it's pretty impossible to be funny, edgy, irreverent or witty about. The author definitely tries his best though, and the paragraphs are certainly cleverly written and the book as a whole is well structured.
Ultimately though, where it sets out to be irreverant, slyly funny and interesting, it succeeds merely in being like every other A-Z thing we've had out in the last two years. Sure there are funny and interesting bits, but they're outweighed by enough topics to make me not really enjoy the A-Z as a whole. Some may and will love it and find it Proustian in it's wit. Most, I regret, will probably smirk then put it down.
File under D for Dull Books.