Review: My Idea of Fun

My Idea of Fun
My Idea of Fun by Will Self

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Smug, self-satisfied, pretentious twaddle from a cutting-edge writer fearlessly treading unspoiled ground covered twenty years previously by the likes of Robert Bloch and Joyce Carol Oates. Between the high-handed purple prose; long winding passages saying nothing really but jammed in for the sole purpose of demonstrating the breadth of Self’s vocabulary; and a plot so minor it might have filled a Richard Matheson short story on a bad day, this is a Jericho’s trumpet of nothingness. Tedious and frustrating in equal measure, even the gleeful shock value of Self’s “Oh, I’m so naughty” moments come across as little more than a small boy jumping in puddles to upset his parents. Tiresome. DNF.

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One of the major issues with our son’s illness is the length of time it takes him to settle down and go to sleep in the evening. We’ve become accustomed to changing the sheets because of a vomiting attack, of numerous visits to the kitchen for a drink of water to relieve his burning throat, of interrupting our work to comfort him and help him settle long after we’ve tucked him in for that first, futile time. It’s all part of trying to manage his illness, and trying to give him some small quality of life while we wait for the medical fraternity to get of its collective arse and do something.

This weekend, as a way of slowing down his rocket-powered personality and smoothing the transition between it’sdaytimelet’splayeverything’ssobrightandfunanddaytimeandplayandyaaaaaaay! and sleep, we gathered the kids onto the bed, and the four of us began to tell each other a story. I started off, passed on to Miss, 11, then Master 8, and finished with Luscious. We’ll do it again tonight, and tomorrow, and so on, until we get bored and one of us ties it off, then we’ll probably start another one. Bedtime has become fraught lately: it’s a nice way to settle us all down, and the kids love our authorial careers so much it gives them a real tickle to be a part of it.

Only thing is, I liked what I came up with so much, I’ve decided to make it my next project. With Luscious’ and the kids blessing, and with Magwitch and Bugrat now with the agent, Amelia Jonathan Frankenberg will be the kids book I work on while I’m editing my next adult book, Father Muerte & The Divine.

Here’s last night’s opening:

In a perfectly normal neighbourhood, in a perfectly normal house, lived a perfectly normal couple, and two perfectly normal children.
And the third, whose name was Amelia Jonathon.
Amelia Jonathon was almost perfectly normal. Perfectly normal in that she loved to run and jump and throw balls and read comic books and fart and eat custard like any other normal child. And perfectly normal in that he hated broccoli and needles and dentists and grounding and cleaning up and baths like any other normal child. And almost, because Amelia Jonathon was a girl all the way down the left half of her body and a boy all the way down the right half of his body.
On the morning in question, Amelia Jonathon got out of bed like she always did and washed her face and brushed his teeth, and dressed in her best skirt and his favourite hoodie and went into the kitchen to make breakfast. Today, she decided to have her favourite, which was cornflakes and also toast, which was his favourite. So she warmed a slice of bread in the toaster and spread it with Vegemite, then poured cornflakes on top and covered it with milk. And when she was finished he went to the fridge and poured a glass of his favourite milk and her favourite pineapple juice and finished it off in two long swallows, then faced the day with a smile and a burp and decided to hunt for treasure.