Awkward Situations for MenPaperback
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- Publisher: Ebury Press
- Format: Paperback | 256 pages
- Dimensions: 134mm x 214mm x 20mm | 299g
- Publication date: 3 June 2010
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0091937574
- ISBN 13: 9780091937577
- Sales rank: 45,221
DANNY WALLACE IS A MAN. And a man is a very tricky thing to be these days. A toe-curling moment, an embarrassing faux-pas or a bewildering social situation is always just round the corner. Danny, for example, says the wrong thing about a friend's baby; accidentally follows a woman down a dark street; has his party gate-crashed by a minor celebrity; and even discovers the pleasures of wearing pyjamas (exciting isn't it!). He breaks all the rules; hides a pastry; accidentally spits on someone; tricks Su Pollard; and (we've all been there) avoids his old hairdresser. And then there are the times when he has an argument with a bishop; experiences stage fright in the men's room; gets his wife a treat; and (eventually) helps a lady who has accidentally got her skirt all hitched up. As we follow a year in his life - and it becomes obvious to the attentive reader that here is a man who finds it a challenge to even look after himself properly - an even greater responsibility looms on the horizon...Once you have read this book you will see Awkward Situations everywhere you go and life will never be the same again. And, it's very, very funny.
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Danny Wallace is a writer and television presenter, who wears glasses and used to have a cat. His first solo book, Join Me, was described as a 'word-of-mouth phenomenon' by The Bookseller and 'one of the funniest stories you will ever read' by the Daily Mail. His second book, Yes Man - in which he decided to say 'Yes' to everything has been made into a film starring Jim Carrey. It was described as 'hilarious' by more than four national newspapers, and Richard Madeley. Both books were Sunday Times bestsellers. Danny Wallace is PPA's Columnist of the Year 2011. Find out more about Danny at www.dannywallace.com.
By Liz Lomax 30 Jul 2010
I've always quite liked Danny Wallace and thought Yes Man was brilliant; one of those books it's not safe to read on public transport because you will be cackling so much the other passengers start to get nervous. Therefore I had high hopes for Awkward Situations for Men, especially after reading the prologue; in which Danny tells a friend that his baby sounds like a dick. (I was standing in the bookshop at lunch time, laughing so much I had to put the book down and leave the shop. For the rest of the day, everytime I thought about that passage, I started sniggeringâ?¦ which got a bit awkward in itself when I was in meetingsâ?¦)
So, last weekend, having the house to myself and no pressing tasks to had, it was with a great deal of anticipation that I took to the back garden with a big cup of coffee and my freshly arrived copy of Awkward Situations.
It was an enjoyable read, light hearted and full of the sort of self-deprecating humour and gentle befuddlement one expects from Danny but somehow it just didn't delight me the way Yes Men had. I'm not sure if its that this book genuinely wasn't as funny or if it's more a case that Danny's style is no longer new to me, has perhaps lost its novelty ('scuse pun).
The book is written as a series of short chapters, each 2 -3 pages in length which, at the start appear random but as the book progresses you realise are presented in roughly chronological order, culminating in the "even bigger responsibility" that's been looming on the horizonâ?¦ [spoiler] â?¦unsurprisingly, given the recurring themes of responsibility, growing up and leaving childish things behind â?¦ that Danny is going to be a dad soon. [/end spoiler]
The episodic style is ideal as commuter reading - you are never going to miss your tube stop due to being midway through a truly gripping chapter and failing to notice you were still on the train until you suddenly find yourself in Turnham Green (damn you Secret History, damn you very much!) - but when attempting a serious session of concerted reading, I found the style quite disruptive and hard to get into. It felt like reading a series of magazine columns rather than a novel.
Which leads me to my next gripe; I think it actually is a series of magazines columns. Right from the start I found myself thinking that a lot of the anecdotes sounded rather familiar but it wasn't until about a third of the way through that I suddenly clicked; a lot of what I was reading had already been published as Danny's column in Shortlist magazine, which I occasionally grab on the way to work in the morning. Now, I know serialising a book, or creating a book from a compilation of columns is fairly common but to me it feels like a massive cop-out; it's really disappointing to pick up a "new" book, only to find you've already read half of it.
Despite these complaints, I did enjoy the book, it was a fun read and perfect for some light entertainment - like a literary version of an episode of "How I Meet you Mother" - unchallenging but thoroughly amusing and at times quite moving.
"Laugh out-loud reading. Prepare to guffaw at the brilliantly ridiculous thoughts that can cross a bloke's mind" Heat "Comedy genius" Daily Record "He has the kind of ideas you wish you coudl bottle and sell" Time Out "Will have you cringing and simultaneously laughing out loud" Scottish Herald