Book – The Book of Big Excuses
Author – Tracey Turner
Year – 2008
Genre – Toilet Book
Bought for me by John Gompers
When you can’t wait to get to the end of a book just so that you can write a review pointing out what a pile of crap it is, you know that you are not reading a modern classic. It genuinely angered me that there is a marking on the back of this book suggesting that people part with £6.99 of their hard earned cash just in order to buy the most hastily put together piece of nonsense around.
So why does this book deserve such scathing comments from me? Well, the first thing is the content. As the title may suggest, it is a book documenting a series of different excuses for all kinds of things – driving ticket excuses, sporting errors etc. The first section deals with lateness. Now I have read a great deal of these types of ‘toilet book’ which contain snippets of mildly interesting information, and they vary greatly in quality, but at least most of the time I can see how they could be interesting. This book misses the boat by listing excuses such as ‘For three years running, an office worker was late on the Monday morning after the change to summer daylight saving time’ and ‘On only her fourth day at work, one woman was an hour and a half late because, she claimed, she couldn’t find the building.’ Not only are these massively dull bits of information to hear, but they could have happened to anybody! The author has not taken the time to find out genuine things that have actually happened, but instead has just put together something vaguely plausible and passed it off as a true story. I’m not saying wither of these things have never happened, but why should I believe in them based on the fact that ‘a woman’ is the source of this fact. Admittedly, the book improves in this sense, and starts naming where some things happened, and in some cases – notably the sport section – who it actually happened to, but to start off with a chapter that assumes such stupidity and ease of entertainment of its reader is quite frankly dreadful.
The second thing is the design. I could have knocked this book up in about an hour on Microsoft Word Processor (for any of you who don’t use this programme, it is the world’s best advert for shelling the money out on Word). A sprawling lump of badly spaced out sections, with little hand bullet points, and a quick change into itallics when there is a list that has been stolen from the internet does not make for a professional looking book, and instead struck me as a rush job simply put together as an excuse to pinch money off of people looking to buy a gift for a friend.
There are plenty of books out there of this genre that are genuinely good reads, and I love finding a gem amoungst them. I suppose in a peverse way, the anticipation of venting my annoyance at this book means that it isn’t completely without merit, but a gem it certainly isn’t. If there is any one book on my list that you don’t read this year, make it this one.