Following up from the first instalment, Awkward Situations, and taken from Danny Wallace’s weekly column in Shortlist magazine, this book is a stroll through the minefield of everyday life. How do you react when a stranger coos over your baby, only to think it is the wrong sex? How do you cope when your friend’s mother washes your underwear without asking you first? What do you do if Terence Stamp asks for your phone number but never calls?
This is the everyday life of Wallace who, although he still feels like a child trapped in a man’s body, is now not only a husband but a father, a fact which is nicely bookended within this piece. Reading the book is very much akin to sitting in a pub or a coffee shop with a friend, and them recounting whatever funny event had happened to them that day, and that is the joy of Wallace’s writing.
He could be sitting in front of you – it is personal and witty, and by the end, you really feel like he is somebody you know, and that is probably the reason he is so good at what he does.
He invites you into his life, with little to no holds barred (the staircase incident will vouch for that), but he isn’t nasty, and he doesn’t have to make a joke at somebody’s expense to be funny. He’s a natural observer who can make even the most mundane and boring events we do on a daily basis seem interesting and fresh.
Much like its predecessor, this book is split up into single stories, and although it does run a linear timeline, it doesn’t necessarily need to be read as such. In fact, since each chapter’s taken from a weekly column, you can stop and start more or less as you please, without running into difficulties like remembering what happened fifty or so pages earlier. This works well, especially if you decide to skip forward to an interestingly named chapter and then skip back again.
An extra added bonus are the pictures which illustrate particular stories, all of which made me laugh out loud, sometimes much to the surprise of my fellow commuters. These add just a little bit more sparkle to the stories they accompany, and again, provide the feeling of talking to a friend, and occasionally whipping out their phone to show you a picture to illustrate their story.
Overall, I couldn’t recommend this book – or any of Wallace’s other books – highly enough, and if you’re looking for a beach read, or just something to keep you entertained on your daily journey to work, you can’t go wrong with this.
I will, however, always want to know exactly what Terence Stamp wanted to speak to Wallace about…
More Awkward Situations For Men is out now and available from the Den Of Geek Store.