review a book today! (or ‘just Phillip’s imagination, running away with him?’ oh, the infernal temptations…)

Hello, one and all – back on a regular basis from here on, that’s a promise; real work is a stinker at times, the scourge of the drinking classes, and all that…

Anyhow, I’ve received of late an intriguing book review of Nancy Boy; for one year only, book 2 in what comprises to date The Rowlings Years trilogy, and which I know you’ve all read (cough).

So interesting, in fact, did I find the review that I felt compelled to say a few words on it.

The idea of an individual’s reading of a book has always fascinated me; for each individual reading of a book is unique, and each, I do decree, is of equal merit – trolls aside, of course, who have a different agenda. That’s to say, there exist a million and one reasons why we read a particular book in a particular way at a particular time, which primarily comes down to the route we took to arrive at that particular reading at that particular time, from BIRTH.

This leads me to confess that, however pleased I may have been that the above review contained five lovely stars, I was partly troubled by the reviewer’s suggestion that she didn’t truly “feel qualified” to review it in the first place; because many of its “nuances” may have been “beyond her comprehension”.

Wrong.

Let me put it this way: Would my ideal world be one in which my readers are clones of me? Or might my nobler endeavour reside in being able to convey a differing outlook to the one the reader is necessarily used to?

You’ve guessed it.

The idea that a reader may feel unqualified troubles me chiefly because my influences have always been people; all people; everyone’s a poet, they just don’t know it. Without those influences, I couldn’t, and wouldn’t want to, write.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve been digitally approached, via facebook etc, by readers of the first book in the series, Wood, Talc and Mr. J: We never had it so good… – which I’m certain you’ve all read (coughs again) – they being chiefly readers on the Northern Soul Music circuit, with comments such as:

“Just to say, Chris, I absolutely loved your book, so many memories, so poignant!”

Whereby I’ve enthusiastically responded with: “Thanks so much! Wouldn’t mind just putting that as a review, would you?”

The figurative mile is then run, and the reader is out of my life forever.

I might add here that some of the early reviews for that book were what the above reviewer might also label a little “highbrow”. Hence a partly understandable can’t-compete-with-that type reaction.

Pity.

What disappoints me the most, though, is that there exists a whole section of society out there –you know the one – trolling deep in desperate search of their next vulnerable one-star prey (how low The Insecure will stoop in order to feel good about themselves!).

And these people don’t hesitate.

On one final note regarding Nancy Boy; for one year only, the reviewer confesses to never having been quite sure, throughout the entire novel, whether or not Anne, the most prominent girl in the story, is ever only a figment of Phillip’s, the protagonist’s, imagination. And I cannot express to what point that idea thrills me!

Thank you, dear reviewer.

Firstly, I’m never going to write a book around some alpha male, it isn’t me; I prefer an ‘anti-hero’, at odds with the world evermore and for whatever reason(s).

But most importantly, I find the reviewer’s idea that Anne may only exist in the protagonist’s head truly fascinating, and her unique reading to be a most intelligent one. And were I ever lucky enough to be approached by a film maker, I would certainly want that ambivalence conveyed.

Thank you again, then, dear reviewer. And trust yourself. You count.

And as for all you book lovers out there: write a review today.

Chris, your literary, theatrical friend.