Book – The Satsuma Complex

Author – Bob Mortimer

Pages – 301

Year – 2022

Genre – Fiction/Comedy

Bought for me by Alex

The development of Bob Mortimer from madcap comedian and pseudo-gameshow host, to beloved national icon has been a joy to see over the past few years. As a teenager, I was a huge fan of Shooting Stars, and rewatching a couple of episodes on YouTube recently has reminded me of the sheer lunacy involved in the program. More recently I have been absorbed by his “Train Guy” videos and list of cat names for sale that he posts on Twitter, and I imagine that it is more with the latter in mind than the former that Alex decided to buy me this book last Christmas.

The Satsuma Complex tells the story of Gary, a 30 year old legal assistant who considers himself to be a little bit of a nobody. A normal meet up with a work friend at the pub somewhat turns his life upside down however, when he meets a girl whose name he does not catch, so instead christens Satsuma based on the book she is reading. From there, it becomes increasingly chaotic as he must deal with the disappearance of his workmate, finding out who the girl really is, and taking his neighbour’s dog for an abnormal amount of poos.

The whole book absolutely drips with Mortimer’s particular style of humour, with somewhat surreal turns of phrase, and a certain level of detachment from our main character. And it is a page-turning riot with everything just complicated to feel satisfying, whilst also managing to stay simple enough for the focus to be on the book keeping the right level of funny. It is difficult to find books that are genuinely funny throughout I find, so this is a little gem. A definite tick in the right column for novels written by celebrities.

It is to my own detriment that I have left it too long between reading the book and writing the review, as I am sure there is plenty more that I would have liked to have said about this book. A new year and a new leaf however – this is the last book I read of 2023 (probably around September as well…), and in the new year I will try and keep a little more on top of things as I attempt to read fifty books in a year.

8/10