Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Book Review - Trouble on the Heath by Terry Jones

Terry Jones little short story was so entertaining it made my cold, which made the rest of my day misery, not so bad after all.

"A comedy of Russian gangsters,town planners and a dog called Nigel. This hilarious story from Monty Python star, Terry Jones, will make you laugh out loud." (Goodreads)

Everything in this book revolves around a planning application and the people affected by it. Jones punches a lot into this short story without being overbearing and he, very cleverly, describes the common doses of alienation, lack of insight and "little concern for anything other than my little world" attitude you so clearly see on day-to-day basis, especially amongst bigger city dwellers.  

Jones also uses all the stereotypes: unloved and ignored wife, paranoid rich business man, frustrated civil servant, mostly extremely calm with anger management issues professor, the cunning switched on wife, alienated fashion designer, the criminal with good intentions and a conscience... You name it, he has it. Needless to say, this is an awful lot to pack into a short story, but somehow he manages to do it while keeping it simple and straight forward.

The only flaw, for me, would have to be the way things end with Trevor, the Head of the Planning Department. It is almost as if his story got cut short or there are pages missing from the book. Where was he? Why did he have the notes? 

The plot is "annoyingly" funny and filled with clever humour. The most interesting, however, is the fact that, no matter how unlikely or exaggerated your head tells you this story is, you can still actually see it happening! All the while Nigel, the dog which I think actually represents everyone else including you and me, hence the human name, gets on with his life completely unaware of what is going on right under his nose.

Five words: YOU HAVE TO READ IT! I reckon male readers in particular might like this little book.

OUT OF CURIOSITY: Trouble on the Heath is part of the Quick Reads series. The aim of Quick Reads is to encourage people to read, even people who do not usually read or have not read for a while. The books are just over one hundred pages long and cost only £1.99, so it hardly breaks the bank or your schedule. For more information about the series and its titles click here.

Book Rating: ****
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