Tuesday 23 August 2011

Where's Unimportant - Daniel Shortell

Title: Where's Unimportant
Author: Daniel Shortell
Genre: General Fiction
Published: 2011
Formats: Paperback/Ebook

Available at:
Amazon UK
Alibris UK

I have to admit that "Where's Unimportant" by Daniel Shortell isn't normally the type of book that I would personally read. In fact the first person I thought about when I received a copy to read was my wife as it looked like something she might enjoy. In fact she started reading it before I managed to sneak it back off her so I could read it and write a review.

The book is an enjoyable, interesting and satirical look at a day in the life of a regular guy named Jake who is trying to make a living and survive in the rather cut-throat world of corporate America. As we follow his day, we get snapshots of his many enjoyable past adventures around the world and how what he saw and experienced there compares to the various events he is now encountering. I did find that the novel can get quite confusing as we jump between Jack's current life and his past experiences but this didn't detract too much from the overall flow of the story.

As I read the novel I really felt like I was following the downward spiral of a very depressed person. The stark differences between the boring, miserable, drudgery of his current life and the fun, exciting, hopeful memories of his past were quite powerful and you could see how this type of change in life could really affect someone's state of mind. Many of his issues of course are linked to the materialistic, almost "Big Brother" society we currently live in and the book does delve into this in a smart and rather sarcastic way.

I did note that the nature of the story did mean that it got quite slow at times and could come across as being a little boring when dealing with some of Jack's day to day activities. However, the writing itself was very clever and the author's use of the English language really helped create a vivid and enjoyable picture. In addition though, the ending could be described as being almost explosive with Jack's eventual breakdown leading to a rather interesting and ambiguous finish that actually leaves you questioning both the story itself and some aspects of your own life.

Overall, I did enjoy reading this book which turned out to be a very thought-provoking, yet at times amusingly sarcastic book. However, I do have to say that it isn't something you would want to or expect to read to just pass the time whilst travelling or on the beach. It is a book that I think most people would read over an extended period, slowly digesting and questioning the various points the novel makes. Specifically I think the book is something I would recommend to be read as part of a book club where you can actually discuss and debate the novel's various aspects with other people.


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