03 July 2013

Reading Slash Coleman's The Bohemian Love Diaries

Normally when I see a book having "a memoir" added in small letters under the title, I run to the other end of the book store. And I cannot deny that it was hard to suppress the familiar feeling of slight dread, liberally mixed with foreboding of a long and boring task, when I opened the first page. Of course, I have perused the dust cover of The Bohemian Love Diaries first, just to find out an elegant way to skip most of the book and still produce a believable book report. And of course, the dust cover only exacerbated that foreboding. Cynic that I am, the more a book is lauded by the kind of people who are allowed onto its dust cover, the less I believe it is any good.

Anyway, this is all behind me. I am happy to report that the dread and the foreboding disappeared somewhere during the first page. And that I have finished the book roughly in two consecutive sittings (well, lying downs in my case). Only now I have another problem. It is indeed an uncommonly good book, and now I have two difficult goals: how to avoid using the superlatives already used by the people that were allowed onto the dust cover and how to overcome another, even more difficult limitation I've imposed on myself. You see, I consider that using quotes from this book, even short ones, will be akin to spoilers. The book is definitely a finely cut gem, and quoting from it will be like chipping off pieces and destroying its integrity*.

So I've kind of painted myself into a corner now. And I have to get to the task from a different end. Instead of talking about the beginning sentence (which is also a good one, believe you me, but I can't quote it here), the narrative, the style etc., I can tell you the first thought in my mind after I've read the last sentence (which sucks, in my opinion**) and closed the last page. The thought was short and consisted of one word only - "kaleidoscope".

You see, as a kid I was totally enthralled by my first kaleidoscope. As long as it lasted, and I was very talented and single-minded in dismantling things to get to their innards, so it didn't last too long, I was spending hours in mindless observation of the endless colorful patterns. This feeling, never totally forgotten, tends to come to life pretty rarely when I read a new book. And this was the main or, at least, the first impression I carried with me when I've surfaced from the first reading of The Bohemian Love Diaries. It shines, it sparkles and it shows a lot of different patterns.

If I could be allowed another general observation: Slash is a wicked storyteller. But, unlike many other successful TV, radio or just your living room storytellers, he also knows how to put his stories on paper in a way that doesn't make them wilt.

And the book is frequently very funny, as the blurb writers suggest. Even more: in places it really makes you laugh out loud (which my near and dear prefer that I avoid to do in the restroom, of all places). I can tell you that many a famous stand-up comedian's book left me cold in that sense, but not this one. However, this is not what the book is about. It is indeed about love, about life, about being open - well, as open as the publisher and the Amazon could bear, which is quite a lot these days, I have to guess.

And, like the daddy polar bear told its polar bear son about an igloo: it may be crunchy on the outside, but inside it is really tender and soft. There is a lot of tenderness and love in this book, and in my mind this is what it's really all about. Of course, aside of pursuit of happiness, fame and a few bucks, which the book richly deserves.

So yes, go and buy The Bohemian Love Diaries, it will not change your life, but it will definitely make it richer.


(*) I wouldn't even disclose his full first name, it appears on the dust cover and is explained in the book itself, but you will have to go there and buy it. Suffice to say it's one of the very few cases when somebody's first name licked my last name. In fact, it left my last name standing. In the dust, I mean.

(**) Unless Slash intends to write a sequel, of course, which will change that opinion somewhat considerable)


SnoopyTheGoon said...

His given name alone is enough to put me off. You should post your review at Amazon. It would be the first one he has.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

I shall keep you in suspense re his last name too ;-)

My Amazon reviews got removed in their entirety, all three of them. Apparently these freaks suspect that I am building up a fortune with these reviews.

And yes, I had a review copy.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Of course I recall the removal, one of them being from one of my own books. Yes, we're all getting rich from Amazon. ;-)

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Yeah. I wish I could sic a legal beagle onto them...