One Seriously Messed-Up Week in the Otherwise Mundane and Uneventful Life of Jack Samsonite by Tom Clempson (review copy) - Our hero? Jack Samsonite.
1) pass his GCSEs
2) get the girl (to notice he exists)
3) survive the week without a serious face punching
Good thing he's got a plan. Well, half a plan... From Amazon UK
**Warning: My review is almost as long as the title of the book. But only almost.**
I first heard about this book in November 2010 at the Atom Blogger Party. All I really remember is thinking the title was incredibly long, that it was a boy's book, that at least one of the Atom people thought the author was pretty good looking, and that it was different from what Atom normally publishes because it isn't fantasy. I was intrigued as boy's books are generally pretty funny and it was new for Atom, but the words "Mndane and Uneventful" made me slightly doubtful. Either way, it wasn't due out for another seven months, so after leaving, I promptly forgot about it.
One day not too long ago I was on Twitter and discovered I was following Tom Clempson, and after butting into a conversation he was having with some other of my Twitter friends about sparkly gadget pants (really, I'm serious), and many other off the wall conversations, I decided I must read his book because he is funny! If a book is marketted as funny and the author himself turns out to be pretty funny, well... there are pretty high chances the book will make me laugh. If not, seriously epic fail.
Then last week, I received a copy of One Seriously Messed-Up Week (OSMUW) after weeeeks of patiently waiting. Then got a little worried about reading. Tom Clempson is someone who is fairly active in the blogger world, he's "one of us", someone I kind of knew. And now I had to read his book. Like I always do with books by authors I have spoken to online more than once, I worried I wouldn't like it, and I hate the thought of giving one of us a negative review. So I worried for a day, couldn't put it off any longer, then started to read. I have one word for you. Wow!
Ok, so with a funny author, you would expect a fair few laughs. What I did not expect was to have a smile pretty much plastered on my face for most of the time I was reading. This book is really funny! There were moments when I was reading in a room full of family members and I would get strange looks while I was sat there laughing out loud for literally 20-30 seconds (it doesn't sound long, but when you're laughing, it's forever). There are too many lines in this book I thought should be mentioned, but I can't mention them all, and I can't possibly choose. Tom Clempson is a comic genius!
Jack is just awesome. He's a typical boy, but he's also adorable, and I spent half the time wishing I could adopt him. And he comes out with such brilliant lines. But a fair few times, I actually found I identified with him - when he wasn't being, you know, male. Especially with being scared of reading out in class yet not having the same problem when it came to acting. But we also had similar opinions! There was one instance where he's talking about teenage pregnancies, and I just thought "YES!", because he was saying exactly what I have always thought.
OSMUW is't just about the laughs, though. Hidden between all the giggles are some serious issues. Although mentioning some of them wouldn't be giving you major spoilers, I think it's better to dicover them through Jack's comic outlook on life, so I'll leave you to find these out.
There are some major twists! Ohhh, the twists! I wasn't expecting twists. I was expecting things would work out the way he wanted, or they wouldn't. But the twists!!! My mouth literally dropped open! Once I finished the book, I immediately wanted to pick it up again, to spot all the things I missed before. Oooh, it was so clever! And I really can't say much more other than once I closed the last pages of the book I literally sat there for ten minutes thinking "wow!" Seriously. I was in complete awe, and thinking back over the different parts of the book and winding myself up. Because these characters are just so real, the twists just blew me away. I am now absolutely itching for the sequel to find out what happens next, though unfortunately it hasn't been finished yet, so there's a while to wait.
If I had to criticise the book at all, it would be that perhaps it's a little too funny. Hold on, I'll explain. It's not the type of book I personally could read in one sitting. The funny is brilliant, but after a while, it was just a little too much. So I'd put it down, I'd chat to the family, I'd watch some TV, I'd go to the pub, then I'd pick it up again later and have no problems with it. I think I just like my funny to be peppered with some sad or angry, etc, without being sad and funny or angry and funny, if that makes sense? But it's only a tiny thing, really. As criticisms go, I don't think being too funny is really all that bad!
Seriously, a fantastic, brilliant book, that I can't gush about it enough! Now righup there with all my other favourites. I cannot give this book higher praise. You must read this book!
Thank you to Tom Clempson for sending me a review copy.
Published: 2nd June 2011
Buy on Amazon US
Tom Clempson website