Tuesday, 18 December 2012

All My Own Work – Stephen Miles

“In 2002 Stephen Miles was famously stripped of the highly sought-after Leonard Sankey Award ... ALL MY OWN WORK is a true story, although at times it reads like fiction.”

Stephen Miles, who has always worked with words in one way or another but really wants to be a writer, comes up with a mad plan in order to enter all 4 stories that he has dreamt up to the judges of The Sankey Award for New Talent in Fiction. By roping in a few mates and becoming a bit of an arsehole, he almost pulls it off, and this is the story of what happened.

So, Steve (I can shorten his name as I wish because I’ve met him) tells us the story not just of the controversy over the prize, but the story of a fair bit of his life upto the point when he is discovered. He meets a woman called Fon who works in the Thai restaurant across the road. They fall in love and get married. The fairytale romance is chopped up with chapters of the story of his life without her, and living in Skye and spending most of his time cleaning to make a bit of money, and drinking down the pub with his mates.

It is a really fucking brilliant story about the highs and lows of love and life. It is written well and draws you in and is pretty difficult to put down at times. However, I had a couple of issues with it. 

Here we go:

  • It is long. A bit too long. The reason that it is a bit too long is not because we’re being told too much of what was going on, but because the things that are going on are lingered on for a little bit longer than is necessary. You’re in danger of skimming over parts of it because you get what’s happened, but then there are bits when what’s happened is dragged out a bit. Y’get me?
  • The second issue I had is the comedy/jokes within the book. I’m not saying the Steve isn’t funny, but some people just shouldn’t attempt to write comedy. When there were jokes they just seemed a little bit laboured and they didn’t really add anything to the plot/understanding/the reader giving a shit about what is going on.

Solution: Cut out all of the jokes – the book is shorter and there is no attempted comedy, making the rest of the story almost perfect.

If you can get past these things then do buy and read it. Like I say, it is a brilliant story and will leave you thinking about it for days afterwards.

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