For every book we read during the book club, one of our book club members will write a review. This way anyone who couldn’t be there, can still join in with the fun! Our fifteenth book is Wake up, Sir by Jonathan Ames and the review is written by Jessica Yearwood Travezán.
Wake Up, Sir! is the story of a thirty year old struggling writer with a serious drinking problem. Even though that sounds depressing, the book isn’t. The witty writing and funny scenes will have you laughing out loud at least a couple of times. I must admit I have not read Wodehouse, so I did feel I missed out on those references.
Though I wasn’t very fond of the main character, Alan, you feel you really get to know him throughout the book. Alan is a very insecure alcoholic who questions and over thinks (or doesn’t think at all) a lot. He has published one book, got some cash from a legal settlement and is trying to write his second novel. His weird quirks make him special: he must avoid his uncle in the mornings, he collects sport coats, he does a few sun salutations each morning and cannot write without coffee. He employed a personal valet – Jeeves – with the money from the settlement, even though he is crashing at his aunt and uncle’s house. Jeeves is there to help out with everything, from picking clothes to providing editorial critiques and listening to Alan’s monologues. While he barely does anything throughout the book (is he even there?) it’s an interesting character to have around.
The plot is not great, basically a road trip that ends with an over-the-top adventure at an artists’ retreat. It’s Alan’s dispersed thoughts and his silly interactions that make the whole novel. When he gets to ‘Rose Colony’ he is not quite sure whether he is at a mental institution or at the artists’ colony. He ends up listening to uncomfortable revelations from a fellow artist and fixated on a woman’s nose, while he dwells on the Homosexual and the Jewish questions.
A lot of people really liked the book. I guess you need to be into this kind of humor. It didn’t do it for me. I laughed and I definitely did not hate it, but it’s not my type of read. I feel I might have missed a lot because I read it too fast. That’s what happens when you try to finish a book one hour before the book club… But I might still give Ames another chance – if only to find out where ‘Bored to Dead’ came from.