We picked up this book at lunchtime yesterday and finished it later the same evening, desperate to see how it resolved, but mostly curious as to what the deal was with the guy having sex with the otter. That kind of thing plays on our mind.
It also plays on the mind of sixteen year old Felix who stumbles upon a statuette of this inter species sex act in a discount store he dubs 'The House of Ming'. The piece of plastic filth helps to take his mind off a multitude of problems including his upcoming A level results, the job he has cleaning out Mrs Pretzel's undergrowth, a motherfucker of a mum on his back about his lack of direction and mostly his overwhelming boredom with the world at large.
Thanks to a dog's rectal relapse he has the opportunity to track down the origin of the trinket and with the help of his mum's emergency credit card he finds himself on a plane to Hong Kong. Then a train to mainland China. Then onto Japan. And finally San Francisco as a spur of the moment decision spirals into a mystery that it seems only he can solve. There's also the chance that somewhere along the way he'll find some more meaning to his own life. Now if only his mum would stop ringing his mobile at the exact time that people insist on pulling guns on him... whatever.
About a quarter of a way in we were saying that Sea Otters Gambolling in the Wild, Wild Surf was very funny, but not laugh out loud funny. Then we started laughing out loud. Then we unplugged the phone and settled down to race to the end. Then we turned back to page one and began reading it aloud to anyone who would listen. We LOVE this book:
In those days I spent most of my time hanging out with my Computer Club homies. Don't get me wrong, they're good guys and I'm still pretty friendly with them, but they're not cool, unless of course you think being down with the Linux kernel or being in a Quake clan is cool. Take Kevin, for example: OK, his IQ is the size of the Death Star, but then so is he. I mean he's only seventeen, but I think he's almost twenty stone. Which is pretty bad, because I know deep down he really wants to be an elf. His main Everquest characters are always elves and he collects all this weirdo LOTR memorabilia off the internet. Now I'm not one hundred percent sure, but I don't think there were any morbidly obese elves in Middle Earth, but then I guess they didn't live on Pringles, unlike Kevin.
What starts off as a modern update of Adrian Mole, soon becomes something very different as Felix lucks himself in and out of situations that would make Ferris Bueller wince, all the time revealing a little more of just what happened with the Miss Havisham like Mrs P, her ailing dog Vespasian and his own parents. You shouldn't have a problem finding this book in any decent London bookstore and we reckon it would make a great tube read, although we can't be held responsible if you decide to stay on the Piccadilly line all the way to Heathrow and beyond.
Without knowing it you may have read John Bennett before as he's also a member of Metafilter where he posts under the name Johnny Novak. We'll be speaking to John later this week to ask him amongst other things how much of a hindrance or help being part of such a prolific and high profile blogging community is to a budding novelist. But mostly we'll be asking him what the deal is with the guy having sex with the otter.