Wednesday, 5 March 2014

The Best Book Ever Written?

That's got your attention. Now you're here, hello reader, you can stay, and read my review of  a short story that you just have to buy.

But I'm probably quite biased as to why.

The book I'm reviewing is this one, The Ever-So Heroic Adventures of Captain Square Jaw: Square Jaw and the 49-Page Adventure! It's written by Danson Thunderbolt, who is my best friend's dad. Reason one why I'm bias. The book has been written to raise money to buy supplements for my best friend's brother Luke, and you can read about why such supplements are needed (and they really are needed, so from right now I urge you all to buy the book) here. There are 38 different blogs about life with Luke and his dad, and they're all worth a read.

So that's why I'm biased - and I should probably feel obliged to say that the book is amazing. The thing is - I don't need to be obliged to say it. This book IS amazing, genuinely. And it's only 49 pages, so what more could you want? I read it in about two days, and I could've read it in much less time if I was able to sit still and read a book for long enough.

Square Jaw is the creation of Danson Thunderbolt, who is, himself, the creation of my friend's dad. He's a pirate with a, if you could believe it, square jaw, and a manly chest, currently captain of the ship 'The Manly Pose'. It's a children's book I suppose, but I'm eighteen and the humour appeals to me greatly. I read the last chapter in school and was giggling away in the library when everyone else was being quiet. It keeps you laughing up to the last word, literally.

The book is essentially 49 pages (50, including the cover) of wordplay. The normal conventions of reading a book are taken and played on; you think one sentence means something, it in fact means that and something else. It's amazingly difficult to explain - so you should buy the book and find out for yourself.

It would feel strange closely exploring the characters and the plot in a book that has the characters themselves question the presence of a plot. The characters' positions in the novel become part of their character, if that makes any sense, and the lack of depth for some characters is taken as another opportunity for humour. The book keeps up the energy that it starts with, and Chapter One (titled 'The First Chapter') is a constant run of jokes and wordplay that kept me very entertained. The humour might not be to everyone's taste, and if it isn't I suggest you go and find your childhood self again. After all, as a wise and curly haired man once said, "there's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes". The humour is clever and quick, and the unexpected jokes and wordplay happen all the way through.

Plus, despite the fears of the characters, there is a plot! I don't often make it to the very end of books, and I still get quite excited when suddenly the tension and action increase as you near completion. This excitement and tension were definitely present in Square Jaw, and the 'death' scene [not a spoiler] in the last chapter of the book manages to be both hilarious and really quite sinister. Even the surreal resolution (surreal is good, you'd expect nothing less from the story) feels real, and manages to be both intense and funny.

But at the end of the day - the book is an excellent read, and it would be silly to analyse it any further. The money goes to a good cause, and you'll have a great time reading it - so what's not to love?

Unsure if you'd like the book? That 'Sample' button on Kindle can  be incredibly tempting, I know, but don't use it. Just press 'Buy'. It's only £1.02, and 35p of that will go towards the supplements that my friend's brother really needs. So be nice, and buy it. And if you really like it (hooray!) then you can buy the full sequel (that was written first...) here. There was a stage play of that, locally, last year, and it was amazing. It's had great reviews, and they're all correct. The stories really are wonderful. I can remember my friend telling us all in Primary School that his dad had written a book. I thought it was tremendously exciting - and it still is.

(So... any chance of a sequel/second prequel/future short story? I hope so.)

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