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on 23 June 2006
This is an amazing book. It takes the form of a diary and tells the story of a year in the life of The Man Who Fell Asleep, an aimless, philosophically-challenged man in London. He encounters celebrities, polar bears and (memorably) Jesus. It's a very funny book but it raises a lot of serious issues about identity, morality and philosophy. In many ways, it's a very London book, but I don't think you need to know London to enjoy the book. It's about a man and his disconnection from his surroundings; a man who takes refuge in fantasy because real life is filled with contradictory, confusing notions. It's a beautifully written book, striking a perfect note between irreverent fantasy and cynical reality. Recommended to anyone with a brain, a sense of humour and imagination.
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on 23 November 2007
I found this book to be a hugely refreshing and welcome change from what is usually on offer in book shops. There isn't a plot as such but that is what makes the diary format ideal. The reader is thrown straight into Stekelman's unique style on the very first page when themanwhofellasleep has an encounter with a Jesus very different from what one would expect. The book is never boring slipping effortlessly from the cheeky to the downright outrageous. I defy you to read this on the train and not laugh to yourself; when I was reading the 'Jokes' passage I giggled so much I think a bit of wee came out.
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on 8 March 2008
This is the best book that I've read in a very long time (maybe 2 years). It's written as a diary and the entries are pretty much totally unconnected and so some entries are significantly funnier than others. The worst of the entries only raise a chuckle-- but that was only the worst. Most of the entries made me laugh out loud, and October the 24th's entry was worth the price of the book alone. The pictures in the book were very funny too.
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on 17 April 2006
I was lucky enough to get hold of a copy of this book a few days before it was released and I've been sitting around the house laughing to myself and looking like an idiot. It's certainly a unique read. The novel takes the form of a surreal journal spanning a year in the life of the central character TheManWhoFellAsleep (we never do find out his real name). You're never quite sure what is real and what is fantasy but it doesn't really matter, because the book is just a hilarious, surreal, strange read. Just when you're laughing yourself silly, Stekelman comes up with a really depressing observation, and just when the book gets morbid or sad, he comes up with something so surreal and off-the-wall that you can't help but laugh. It's a strange book, but in a fresh, original way. The prose itself is quite sparse and minimal, but I think that suits the mood of the central character. Stekelman explores lots of different ideas - celebrity, religion, identity and family, and lots of the best scenes in the book involve his hilarious lunchtime meetings with Jesus or Justin Timberlake or the local Mafia. Very stupid and very clever. Oh, and I love the tube gossip!
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on 17 June 2008
Must say from the reviewers I saw on here I was expecting the book to be very funny but I must say I didn't find it entertaining at all. Full marks for imagination and the book has brief moments of wit but I just didn't get anything out of it!
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on 13 February 2007
Extremely funny, strange, unique, surrealist; depressing in the good way. Not much to say that hasn't been mentioned, except that you MUST buy this book. You won't regret it. Also makes a great gift, or even a lovely coffee table book (particularly if you're trying to make your friends think you have a smarter sense of humor than them...Calvin and Hobbes won't do).

This isn't available on the United States Amazon.com, which is a shame. Perhaps because it mentions Justin Timberlake, who is (to my knowledge) a big deal in Europe but woefully unheard-of in the States.
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on 18 June 2009
Falling asleep would have been the easy option! Staying awake to read this through to the bitter end was the challenge!
Sorry to disagree with the vast majority of the readers of this book, especially as I love to be positive about everything in life, but I can't recall the last time I read a book that I disliked so much. Yes I know I had the choice to stop reading, but morbid curiousity kept me at it, to see if I could find something, anything, to like about it.
When I was 14, my best friend at school had a lucrative business going on, where the boys paid her to write their 'creative writing' homework essays for them. She would make these up on the bus, deliberately spouting complete nonsense about 'the ducks of want, the worms of regret and the geese of desire'!These joke essays almost invariably gained the boys 'A' grades and she became a literary legend!
This book is like reading a giant, relentless version of her works! Maybe I, too, am missing the point, as conjectured by the only other reviewer who did not like this book; but for me it could easily be based on the Childrens' Classic Fairy Tale of 'The Emporer's New Clothes'. If you are unfamiliar with the wisdom of the lesson that lies behind this childrens' tale I would suggest reading that instead of this.
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on 19 May 2006
I love sleeping and who doesn't and that's why I bought this book. I must say that this is the best book I have ever read, the last book I read was Delia Smith's how to cook an egg which I thought would be a rollercoaster ride of a story but it was all recipes for eggs which the Man Who Fell Asleep isn't. Don't get me wrong I have absolutely nothing against eggs, some of my best friends are eggs, it's just that I don't really like them that much. Fried egg sandwiches are quite nice sometimes but I see scambled eggs as a complete waste of time. In her book Delia simply rambles on and on about eggs and different ways of cooking them, which, to be honest it actually did surprise me as I only ever thought that eggs could only be boiled (hard or soft), fried, scrambled, poached, devilled, pickled or benedicted and also mashed up in a cup with butter which my mum likes but I think that is revolting, when I went round to visit her last week she was eating that for her lunch, I don't know how she can eat that. There's also scotch eggs which are quite nice, Delia does have a good recipe in her book on how to make a nice scotch egg. All in all I did find Delia's How to Cook and Egg a huge disappointment, If you looking for a good story I would not recommend this book but if you want thousands of egg recipes I couldn't recommend it more. If it's a good story you're after then I suggest that you buy The Man Who fell asleep, it's beezer!

I award A Year in the Life of the Man Who Fell Asleep by Greg Stekelman five stars and a WG Sinclair big double thumbs up.
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on 10 August 2010
This is the worst book I've ever read. And I don't really like saying that about a book because so many writers have to go through the hoops to get something published.

I had high expectations of the book based on the reviews I had read elsewhere. And it also came with a glowing recommendation in the introduction from none other than Julie Burchill - a writer whose work I have enjoyed enormously over the years. "Great", I said to myself, "this book has got to be good". But it was neither funny or remotely engaging. After fifty pages I was bored senseless and the only reason I continued to the end was to give the author the benefit of the doubt. I felt it had to pick up somewhere along the way. By the time I got to the end of it I was really irritated at having spent time on it rather than reading something else. And, I'd wasted good money on it too!

So, what's the problem with the book? The word that keeps on coming to mind is 'lazy'. Throughout the book it felt as though the author had simply plucked incidents out of the air at random and flung them onto paper with no coherence whatsoever. And so humourless! While some reviewers here were in stitches I couldn't even raise a muffled titter. The prose was unrelentingly dull, flat and boring. Even the illustrations, some of which were funny, hadn't a hope in hell of rescuing this book. It seemed to be totally lacking in imaginative effort.

A few times along the way I did wonder if perhaps some great literary device was being employed and I, for some reason, had failed to cop on to it. "Am I actually missing something here?" I asked myself every now and then. But, I wasn't of course.

Finishing the book was a huge relief and by the end of it I was really amazed at how it got into print at all given that there are dozens upon dozens of writers out there with infinitely more talent who find it impossible to get published.

I think David C's review here sums up the style really well. All you have to do is take a few famous people at random, arrange to have the main character meet with them (anywhere at all will do), throw in a bit of nonsensical dialogue (don't worry about the subject-matter), do a bit of a summary at the end of the chapter. Repeat until you have a decent-sized manuscript and - hey presto!

Now, if only I could track down that Julie Burchill to give her a bit of my mind!
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on 2 August 2011
I keep a copy of this book handy for when I feel a bit low or jaded. It never fails to speed me up and make me laugh and every time I read it I think, 'When is Greg Stekelman going to write another one!' The drawings are great too.
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