Date started: May 26th
Date finished: May 27th
Before I properly get started with this review, I’m going to pussy out a bit and note that I don’t tend to swear much on this blog (at least not as much as I do in real life) and I was sorely tempted to put shitty asterisks in the title. I left them out, because upon reading the title, you’ve probably already figured out whether or not this book is for you. The language in A Fucked Up Life In Books goes beyond salty, it’s fucking briny. I let my mum read the opening with the instruction to stop when she got offended. She got to the point where BookCunt explained she called herself that because “I love books and I have a cunt. Job done.”
A Fucked Up Life In Books isn’t really an autobiography, partly because it’s anonymous and partly because of the structure. There’s not a whole lot of continuity to it, just a load of stories, each around the length of a solid blog post. Were I more pretentious, I’d be tempted to call them vignettes. The one thing they do all have in common is books.
The books are often only tangentially related to the story itself. There’s no reviews in here, or discussion of themes, it’s a collection of funny/sad/bizarre occurrences that happened when BookCunt was reading, or trying to read, or wanted to read. They range from the fairly mundane (getting excited over a copy of Memoirs of a Geisha right before sex) to the downright eclectic (someone eating page 97 of the Da Vinci Code to stop her wasting time on it).
I will say, much of the book had me nearly in stitches, or would have done had I not been reading most of it in public. (A quick aside: don’t attempt Harvester at lunchtime on a bank holiday, it’s a fucking miserable experience). It’s fortunate that I had A Fucked Up Life In Books to keep me sane during the long wait for a table, and a story prominently featuring the phrase DEAD CHILDREN was the perfect antidote for having screaming shits all around me. Honestly, how anyone can truly love something that makes that much noise is beyond me; it must be like caring for a jackhammer.
Elsewhere, there were stories that were legitimately heartbreaking, and one or two that actually made me wistful for the time before my dad turned out to be a total arsehole.
Really, if you can deal with a bit of harsh language, I’d say the book’s worth buying. I know this review is short, but there’s not much I can say that wouldn’t spoil the point of reading it for yourself. If you read it straight through like I did, it’s a quick one, but it’s also the sort of thing you can dip into a story at a time whenever you’re in the mood.
The best thing I can say about it is that it’s honest. None of the gory details are left out, and it’s refreshing to see someone so willing to be open with random loons like me from the internet. Also, it’s three quid, which is less than the going price of a McDonald’s and probably better for you. So get on it.