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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 9 April 2013
Proper Job was a thoroughly enjoyable read about a young man named Andy and his struggles over the course of one summer in 1999. Set against the backdrop of that summer's eclipse, he tries to maintain a job with his two friends (one of whom he has never known the name of) and impress his boss' niece, Penelope. The tone of the book reminded me of the Adrian Mole series in that it was told from the young man's point of view and laid out all his faux pas in a likeable and charismatic way. Definitely kept me chuckling throughout and I read it in a very short spell as I wanted to find out what happened to Andy and all his friends.
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on 1 December 2011
Having been a big sci-fi fan for many years I found Ian Hocking via his other books Déjà Vu and Flashback which are stupendously good sci-fi, when he announced on twitter that he had a new book coming out I was excited at first thinking it would be more of his excellent sci-fi but quickly realised that he'd written a romantic comedy which really isn't my thing.

Anyhow, I decided to give it a go and it was an enjoyable book covering a young lads summer job in Cornwall while trying to get the girl and save the day. There's quite a bit of action although some of it is quite absurd which means it's probably based on reality. I found it a bit hard to connect with some of the narrative as it is (most probably) more relevant to people who have lived in or grown up in Cornwall but as I've never been there myself I found it didn't grip me fully. The book felt about the right length as it's not too long and quite a page turner and very easy to read. It did remind me a bit of reading Adrian Mole all those years ago.

All in it was an enjoyable read and if you're into this kind of thing or from Cornwall it would probably make it much easier to relate too and make it a 5 star book.
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on 1 December 2011
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and laughed out loud frequently. It is a great balance of very relateable tales and anecdotes, which will resonate with anyone who spent their adolescence far from any major city, and outrageous situational comedy. I liked the kind of humour, the dry, sharp language, and the author's gift for capturing the clumsy and naive romance of a 17-year old. I would have recommended it no matter what, but at under a pound, there is really no reason not to give this a try!
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on 8 October 2012
A very funny book, this is the first book I have read from this author but if this is the standard it will not be the last. I found this to be a feel good book about a group of Cornish teenagers struggling to earn a living before university, the book was not too long and easily read, it had me laughing all day. I can recommend this well written book to all lovers of humour.
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When you wander around the dark edges of the free and inexpensive Kindle bookyard you run into a lot of "hysterical, hilarious, funny, hysterically funny, hilariously funny, funnily hilariously hysterical" books, at least according to the blurbers and unknown professional reviewers. And maybe they are and I'm just a big stick-in-the-mud. But I don't think so. What I do think is that writing books is hard, readers of books, especially semi-debut freebies, are for the most part generous and forgiving souls, and even if a book is just sort-of amusing readers are willing to lavish praise on it.

Well, all of this blather is just the long way around to saying that I felt that, without exaggeration or puffery, "Proper Job" was a very well written, generous and good-humored book with engaging characters and enough rewardingly funny scenes and lines to make it a fine, entertaining choice. Some of the scenes are pretty slapstick and "madcap", but they feel like part of the fun, not like some desperate attempt to save the book. The characters are busy, not frantic; the situations are silly, not stupid; the narrative is deadpan not dead-in-the-water. Some of the jokes and situations are predictable, but some aren't and end up being pleasant surprises. The author's touch is fairly restrained, and some of the funniest stuff is a bit sneaky, and hidden almost as throw-away lines. While the protagonists are summer-job-adolescents, the author is clearly a fairly balanced soul who has a rather rueful memory of life at that age and this shaggy dog tale very nicely captures the humor and agony of that time of life.

So, a very nice and rewarding find, and you probably will make a chuckle noise every now then. Please note that I found this book while browsing Amazon Kindle freebies. I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
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on 28 December 2011
The bright and chirpy cover sets the tone of this fun and frothy comedy, a departure from the author's previous time travelling SF thrillers (Deja Vu and Flashback, both excellent reads). It tells the tale of Andy, a hapless teenager in Cornwall marking time between high school and going to university in the job from hell as a temporary ice cream salesman in the busiest time Cornwall has seen for ages. The only sweetener is reacquainting himself with Penelope, the dorky girl from physics club, who just happens to have grown up to be a hottie who also happens to be a member of the ice cream dynasty...

The pace fairly rattles along from one crazy situation to another, and I have to admit I literally LOLd many times, and what more could you ask from a comedy?
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on 12 March 2012
I came to this having read Ian Hocking's 'Saskia Brandt' Trilogy or at least the first two volumes. Having very much enjoyed these I searched for volume 3 only to realise it hadn't as yet been published. It was during this search that I came across this offering also from Ian Hocking and was I pleased that I had. it is rare that I laugh out loud at a book but at times this had me in stitches and, as luck would have it, usually when I was out in public. The dialogue is brilliant as is the characterisation and every situation that our hero found himself in rang true. Comedy is difficult to recommend as one persons hysterically funny incident is another's 'boring', but at well under a pound what have you got to lose?
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on 29 February 2012
Having read both of the books currently in the Saskia Brandt series I wasn't sure what to expect from this book as it's quite a departure from the likes of Deja Vu, it's a romantic comedy and not SciFi for a starters. But, by the end of the first chapter I was crying with laughter - something that continued to happen throughout the rest of the book.

This is a really funny and well written book, I fell in love with the characters from the start and couldn't wait to see where the story took them next.

I honestly can't recommend this book enough, it's a lot of fun set in Cornwall :)
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on 13 January 2012
This is a really funny novel! Ian Hocking beautifully describes the awkwardness of being 17, with some wonderfully written passages that literally had me snorting with laughter - not a good look while sitting on the tube! Some of the speech is a little tricky to decipher - try reading it out loud (quietly if you are on public transport!) to help understand the Cornish dialect used. The characterisation is excellent, and the storyline, although far fetched in places, never feels contrived. A real gem of a book!
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on 3 December 2011
If you were wondering where Ian Hocking was going to go next, after two time-travelling sci-fi technothrillers, followed by a collection of literary short stories, you were probably not thinking of a teenage romp in Cornwall. And if you were - what a bizarre mind you have.

Despite not having any time-travel in it, nor any credit-card-sized supercomputers, Proper Job is a funny, likeable tale that is easy to read and hugely enjoyable. It's not terribly 'clever', and it makes perhaps excessive use of the set-piece comedy moment, but it just makes you laugh. Which is a good thing. It's a bit like the ice-cream on the cover. It's easy to digest and provides an indulgent moment of enjoyment. It probably plays a little bit too much to it's Cornish roots (so to a Northerner like me it can occasionally read like Michel Thomas Teach Yourself Cornish) but it's like reading an Iain Banks novel where there is a long passage of Scots. You just have to head into to full-steam ahead, and the phonetics will get you through.

So, if you want something light and fun, choose this book. Ideal seaside reading!
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