I felt and embraced the witty and sad undertones in this book that represents a part in some small English towns. I know and knew some of these people...moreI felt and embraced the witty and sad undertones in this book that represents a part in some small English towns. I know and knew some of these people, and I went to school with some of them.
The people in the book fit certain demographics that I think non-Brits will see a resemblance that will parallel some of the people in their own culture, and I feel certain Brits will definitely recognize them all too well. I definitely did, even years later now that I am living in the states. I can see these people near my home in southern England, just as I could see them presently in people I know around Los Angeles.
How people interpret or agree with the image the book presents of these characters could make this an either engaging or annoying read.
On the positive side, if you enjoy detail then it will be about the experience. Although the story is linear, there is no real heavy plot twists or turns. It is about characters, their aspirations, their hopes, and their lives in a town, the result of all which are either breaking apart and/or entwining. The characters seem realistic, well developed, and each is so clearly defined that you understand them - even if you don't agree.
On the negative side, to some, I can see that it might feel a bit bland, with what might feel like extraneous details, which then eventually run off to a predictable and/or anti-climatic ending. Some might see political undertones annoying or even dislike how the characters fall too well into a stereotype and drive the story along to fulfill the plot too easily.
You know what happens or doesn't happen, there is no secret but there is symbolism and a heavy statement that lingers. It's what is between the lines that is to be enjoyed or cumbersome.
It really depends on the person, and I think Rowling was right in an interview she gave I saw here on ABC News:
Rowling: Did you cry?
Rowling: Well, you see, I don’t want to say ‘good.’ But I would have nothing to say to the person who didn’t cry at the end of this book. Nothing.
This book was clever, not just because it was J.K. Rowling, but lets be honest - it's why I read it. I did happen to enjoy it very much. And yes, I did cry.
FUNNY! Although thanks to my nerdy reading of old novels or history seeking I've heard a good sample of these words, but for every one I knew there ar...moreFUNNY! Although thanks to my nerdy reading of old novels or history seeking I've heard a good sample of these words, but for every one I knew there are about 20 I don't. Total treasure, even their vulgar words were more elegant in speech. (less)
Like an original Shel Silverstein, or at least the Victorian variety. Mum shared this with me when I was little, and it still holds a dear place in my...moreLike an original Shel Silverstein, or at least the Victorian variety. Mum shared this with me when I was little, and it still holds a dear place in my heart. We lived in England, and each night before school I'd read. This book was often my friend through the night. All night long I'd read, and later my mum would tell me of her own love for the Dong and the Jumblies, and still I love this book so much. Once he catches your heart and mind, it belongs to him forever.(less)
I loved it, very quirky and all over the place. Definitely not young adult.. very vulgar, crude, funny... my type of book. Love the 80s lyric and pop...moreI loved it, very quirky and all over the place. Definitely not young adult.. very vulgar, crude, funny... my type of book. Love the 80s lyric and pop culture references though, and part of the book just takes a complete twist that you wonder if you are reading the same thing.(less)
Hilarious, until some of the things you realize ACTUALLY scare you and could happen... then you start reading it a little more closer and seriously or...moreHilarious, until some of the things you realize ACTUALLY scare you and could happen... then you start reading it a little more closer and seriously or you start smiling more at what they have included. My boyfriend got this for me for my birthday this year, after I was always talking about wanting to know "What if" type situations. "What would we do if we ran across a bear?" and other questions that scare you. You see the quiz type board game at certain stores and you smile and think its totally cute... but who needs anything like that, right? Not in this day in age.
I could agree, and my boyfriend and I at first were laughing at the illustrations, and you probably will, until a topic title grabs your eye and you read more.
At first you laugh when it tells you how to survive things like the wedding night, not being caught sleeping during class, how to escape a business meeting and how to crawl under the desk, or trying to buy a last item in a store full of shoppers on the verge of rioting. Then is has more interesting "hmmm" topics like disarming a bear trap and other actual useful things, such as being bitten by snakes, or how to scare off mountain lions, avoiding certain stampeding animals (who knows, maybe someone will ask you to safari out in Africa), dealing with an evil vending machine (properly of course! haha) that takes your money but doesn't drop your goodies, and other stuff you think actually is chit chatty type handy tips or noteworthy things to store away in your brain.
Then, you might run into one of the topics that grabs your eye and it is something you are ACTUALLY scared of... and you read on and on it is something you NEVER forget, that I can promise! These are usually from the "EXTREME" edition of the Worst Case Scenario series, and some of them are things most of us have feared at one point or another. I was up a little too late one night, hooked on reading about being buried alive and escaping the grasps of nature, and insomnia induced hysteria started having me think "Oh my, I should keep this with me at all times on road trips". Of course, I also have studied and hold onto the Zombie Survival Handbook so, just a heads up haha.
Some other topics will have you flipping right through, but being a reader nerd I have to read everything cover to cover. Being "Complete" it has more than you could definitely want, and some topics you might raise an eyebrow for them including, but then shrug because who knows, it might not help you but someone else. Sort of like those obvious signs that tell you DANGER, low ceiling or something or another, but it can't stop there it has to include a comical yellow and black sign of someone hitting their head.
As a result, combining the useful with the more trivial and funny is great and if you like buying "Complete" editions packed with all the other side books and don't want to dish out more buying all the other books (and I think at this point there are quite a few), this is a good buy. However, if you want just the serious or the funny, looking at the catalog of their separate books is probably a better idea to suit your tastes.
For any person who is anxious, likes to plan, is the handyman type and needs to know all Plan B's, this is a wonderful gift. Even if they don't read it right away, I can promise it will be something they'll keep with their tools for the handy type, their car/truck for the roady type or those who enjoy camping outdoors... or like me, the anxious type, I keep it with my xanax!(less)