Please note that you will not find any unfavourable reviews here. I only write reviews on books that I enjoyed reading.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Being Normal by Stephen Shieber

I've finished reading Being Normal by Stephen Shieber and published by tonto books (another indie publisher with a preference for their name in lower case, what is that all about?).

When I write finished I should clarify that I started it late one night, forced myself to put it down and get some sleep (and to not pick it up in the morning before work), then finished it on the train to London the very next evening.

I may have had the self restraint to not read it before work but I did talk about it at work and I have to confess that I also emailed several people about it before and during work...I blame Stephen!

This book should come with a warning label on the front cover, 'ADDICTIVE STORIES BARELY CONTAINED INSIDE' .

Stephen writes in a unique voice, one that resonates inside me, quickly convincing me that he KNOWS of what he writes. His skill is obvious in this regard as these stories are written in the first person with male, female and teenage voices. How is it possible to have such a flexible writing stream?

Being Normal is a wonderful book about, well, being normal. It contains all the beauty and ugliness that is part of everyday life, that which we witness happening, which makes us 'tut and tsk' when we see it reported in the media and that which we experience firsthand.

Being Normal sharply lays bare all that which is hidden, grabs you by the shirt collar and holds you captivated long enough for you to have an opportunity to really look at that person that you were so quick to dismiss in the past.

Being Normal offers a safe haven within which you may develop an understanding that there is a plausible reason for the behaviour of others that you may have found disturbing or even that there is an ulterior motive behind the behaviours you may have previously admired.

With his debut novel Stephen has joined the ranks of seriously talented short story writers and I am hoping that he succumbs to an urge to write more books in his distinctive voice.


Leatherdykeuk said...

Fascinating review - thanks.

Maddy said...

Oh dear. That's bad. Now I shall have to experience the torture of navigating Amazon UK rather than Amazon US where they won't accept zip codes and I have to pretend to be my mother and use her post code.


How can I resist some insight into other people's peculiarities - bound to be so much 'better' than my own.

DJ Kirkby said...

Hi Rachel
Your welcome :)

Hi Maddy
Try the Book Depository
as they have free worldwide shipping! xo

ArtSparker said...

Just back from a conversation with a friend discussing the beauty of ordinary life as opposed to noisy spectacle (this was as related to films, he brought up Dear Frankie & I brought up American splendor). So nice synchronicity in your review.

Momentary Madness said...

I can't even begin to imagine what a normal life might be(((((I would read this book at least start to read with the notion I would put it down after the first chapter more or less))))))
I wouldn't even consider there's such a thing.

I am now curious though;-)

Stephen said...

Thanks to everyone that's read the review and to DJ for being so generous.
Momentary Madness - the title of the book is ironic. None of the characters are particularly normal. They're all struggling to make it through the humdrum of life with some kind of dignity.

trousers said...

It sounds fascinating, dj - and like it would appeal to me, very much so.

DJ Kirkby said...

Hi Trousers,
Y'ano...I thought of you a couple of times when I read the book. I think you'll know why when you read a couple of the stories. This is a beautiful book, really unique and special.

spacedlaw said...

I love the idea of the warning label.
I wanted to say hello (came here via black box)