Monday, July 19, 2010

Book Notes: Friends Like These by Danny Wallace

The humourist Danny Wallace was having something of a pre-emptive mid-life crisis as he approached the age of thirty! (thirty!!). It was during this time that he discovered a box of sentimental items from his childhood, which his mother had cleared from his childhood bedroom. The box contained all manner of memory-provoking items including the names of a whole gallery of long-lost friends.

This book is the story of Wallace's mad-cap adventures as he e-mail's, Google's, Facebook's, and travels to catch up with the people in his old address book - wherever they are in the world. His travels take him around the UK, and then around the world.

It's a hugely entertaining, easy-reading, ultimately pointless book - which is a bit of a laugh (which after my last two book reviews here you might be thinking is well in order!). Wallace is an amusing writer who tells a good story and he's on good form here. Much of the book isn't laugh-out-loud funny, but is full of wry amusement as his observational humour is so well directed. The book is loaded with references which all 30+ people in this country will recall, TV shows, toys, Raleigh Chopper bikes and the like. Likewise, I imagine I am not alone in having spent time wondering what various characters I have known are now up to, where they are, and how their lives turned out - or even having Googled a name or two.

Many of his friends appear to still be highly entertaining characters too, with a wealth of funny shared memories, which keep the story of his search for them bubbling along nicely. It's not deep or profound, mostly its just delightfully silly - but I did enjoy this.

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