Sarah Kingston's Reviews > He Died with a Felafel in His Hand

He Died with a Felafel in His Hand by John Birmingham
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really liked it

Up until April this year, if you had asked me about John Birmingham, I would have made all sorts of enthusiastic noises, but I wouldn't have been able to say I'd read his most famous work - the work which made him 'The Felafel Guy'. I was familiar with him from having done a couple of very beneficial writing workshops with him, and reading a few of his columns and blog posts. But Felafel had passed me by, and I think this came along at exactly the right time.

I picked this book up when I was extremely stressed out by work, finances, and general adult commitments, and I was about to commence several days of recuperation after having all 4 wisdom teeth out. This book helped teleport me back to my dissolute uni days (or rather, my uni days when I was tangentially close to dissolute uni students, while remaining diligent, clean and generally 'solute'). It took me back to backyard house parties in falling down Queenslanders, when the sink would be full of someone else's beers (which everyone would steal) and you'd end up spending at least half an hour sitting in an empty bathtub with three girls you'd only just met, giggling and dangling your legs out of the side until some idiot leaned over and turned on the cold tap. It took me back to getting silly drunk and bonding with a boy who had just launched himself face-first through the closed kitchen window, and yet had refused to be taken to hospital and resurfaced with a bloodstained bandage around his forehead. It took me back to wandering around West End in high summer, sweltering in Doc Martens and heavy black eyeliner because I wanted to keep up an image I'd barely established in the first place.

It must be said, my experience of uni and sharehouse life was nowhere near as grungy, grimy or drug-fuelled as the experiences Birmingham describes in this book. But it does perfectly capture a moment in the life of every young person who grows up in Brisbane (or Sydney or Melbourne). That moment is a long summer afternoon sitting on someone else's verandah and drinking a beer, sweltering in the smoky wet heat. It is a moment immediately identifiable to anyone who has grown up in suburban Australia.

It's also bloody laugh-out-loud hilarious. I read several excerpts out to anyone who was within a 5 metre radius, whether they wanted to hear it or not.
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Reading Progress

April 2, 2017 – Started Reading
April 2, 2017 – Shelved
April 6, 2017 – Finished Reading

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