I'm John vd Ruit's biggest fan because he took his life in our ever-exciting, ever-interesting and diverse country and turned it into one of the funniest books ever to come out of SA.
So you can imagine my elated JOY when I was sent a copy of "Year of the Gherkin", a hilarious piece of local lit by author John Dobson.
Also written in diary format, Dobson's taken the tsunami of social media and it's affect on our lives and how we interact with each other, and turned it into a priceless paper-box of giggles. See for yourself in this extract:
SUNDAY 7 FEBRUARY
Went on to S’s fb page, seems like she has had a very social weekend, which is not ideal. And for ‘Looking For’, the answer is ‘friendship’. At least it says she is interested in men, open-minded and indifferent to religion. There is hope, Jason.
She looks hot in her profile pic – then most do. Like a fat chick is obviously going to post a head-and-shoulders or if her dial is also muck then they post like something of their cat. But you must be careful. I saw this girl Erin on Facebook who was a friend of Tam’s. She looked half decent and thought that Tam may have a doable friend – but then when I met her, as Dawesy says, caveat emptor. Translated from Latin as voetstoots.
Was thinking if Siobhan was a car, she would be like a Saab. Quite cool, bit exotic, not the absolutely best-looking, a good reputation, but you really do not know that much about her. Cheryl from the gym would be a Toyota – solid and reliable, practical and useful, and common, and normally always there for you. Tam (my ex) would be like a Rav4 – cool a long time ago. Leslie my sister would be a 1978 Mercedes – built for comfort, but nowadays squat and ugly. Mich would be a Nissan – got all the features, but you do not really want to go there. Lettuce (Slug’s mrs) would be like a Smart Car – original, but like weird, a gimmick, stay well clear. There was this girl from first year, I cannot remember her name, but we actually called her Volksie – after the original Beetle – noisy, popular and everyone had a go. Also her engine was at the back.
Units of alcohol in 2010: nervous 90s.
Current account: too scared to log on and check.
Credit available: ditto.
"Also her engine was at the back."??? It's not great for one's airplane etiquette to guffaw regularly.
What with the social media driven topicality of the book, what better way to let people know about it than through the internets? HOW *NOT* IRONIC, right?
The book's lead character, Jason, has a twitter handle and FB page to interact with you. Jason's a funny dude, and if you do like his interaction online, I can promise you that you'll love the book.
In what's quite a novel approach, the publishers are going to be releasing an iTunes app to let potential readers get to know Jason better.
I love the whole approach for several reasons, not the least of which is character-driven literature. There's nothing more appealing than a really well constructed character. We're also seldom given the opportunity to learn a lot about a book before buying it. Blurbs and reviews are vague, and seldom give you a good idea of the writing style you can expect. So this idea of interacting with the lead character is fantastic.
If you're not sold on the book yet, follow Jason around and see if he draws you in. I, personally, can't wait to see how this all pans out. Great concept, great book!