Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Review by JD: Friends Like These by Danny Wallace

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Book Stats:

  • Friends Like These
  • by Danny Wallace
  • ISBN: 978-0-316-04277-2
  • Pages 400: hardback
  • Little, Brown and Company/Hachette Book Group, 2009
  • Genre: Humor

John’s Thoughts:

After my last read – The Manufactured Identity, which was a little heavy going, I wanted something that was light, fluffy and fun. This was perfect!

Danny Wallace is approaching his thirtieth birthday, and all is not well. After some unhelpful prods by one of his mates, he can’t shake the feeling that he is suddenly plunging into a thoroughly responsible (and kind of boring) maturity, and that his entire life is about to change. Indeed, when he looks around, it is clear that much has changed already. All of a sudden, his impending birthday becomes a highly symbolic milestone, and he feels a need to do something before he gets there.

While clearing out a box of his childhood belongings, he comes across an old address book in which he’d written the names of his twelve best friends from when he was a kid. With the realization that they will all be approaching their thirtieth birthdays too, he wonders if they are going through the same confused feelings that he is. Where are they now? What are they doing? How do they feel about growing up? How did he ever lose touch with them?

And so, as the book jacket says, “he goes on a worldwide quest to find his best friends, knock on their doors, and ask them to come out and play”.

But can he find them all before his birthday? The clock is ticking and his quest takes him not just around England, but also to Scotland, Germany, America, Australia and Japan.

This book is a lot of fun. Wallace has a nice, dry, English sense of humor, and I found myself smiling a lot as I was reading it. He pokes fun at many things as he goes on his unlikely quest, but chiefly he himself is the target. One by one he finds his old friends and is amazed at how easily they pick up the threads from some twenty years previously – they reminisce about old memories and start to enjoy some new experiences together. There is a gentle message in here about the strength of friendships and the value of working to maintain or rebuild relationships, but mostly it’s just a light hearted read.

While a lot of the childhood references are very English, I don’t think that will spoil it for any non-English readers. If you are looking for a light, easy feel-good book, I’d recommend this to you. I’d rate it 3.5 stars.

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For more information on the book, the author, as well as purchasing links please go to the Preview of Friends Like These.

John will be addressing any comments and enjoys your thoughts and questions contrary or otherwise.

Happy last day of March 2010!

4 comments:

Suzanne said...

Great review! I had heard a little blurb about this somewhere and wasn't sure about picking it up, but your review did the trick- a light fun read, and being very british doesn't hurt either! Thanks for sharing!

John D said...

Hi Suzanne,
I hope you like the book; I'm sure you will. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts after you read it.

DCMetroreader said...

I really enjoyed this sweet book too even when it turned sad. In fact it made me want to look up my old elementary friends, but I don't have Wallace's personality, so I'll just have to live vicariously through him.

John D said...

Hi DCM,
I know what you mean. It takes time, dedication and personality - and I'm not sure I have enough of any of them! (Or are we just making excuses here?)

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