Sexy, saucy, sassy! The funniest book you'll find this year...
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Reviews of Journo's Diary
By Laura Tomlinson - 3½ stars
Chickens and phantom pant scrubbers
By Debra Hamel
book-blog.com - 3½ stars
Twenty-three-year-old Rick Hughes's troubles begin five days before he starts his new job as a journalist (he is the "journo" of the book's title) at an Australian weekend paper, the Weekend Star.
His drunken sexual encounter with a 40-something "nice Valkyrie-type called Helga" leaves him walletless and plagued, for months thereafter, by his own stupidity: his "Helga" is in fact a certain Heidi Delsminka, wanted throughout Australia for credit card fraud and armed robbery.
Over the next year, while struggling in his job, eating poorly, and vaguely looking for sex, Rick chronicles the problems that ensue from his interlude with Heidi in daily entries in his diary.
At the same time he details for readers the minutiae of his life: his argument with a fast food place over the availability of Diet Coke in bottles in the restaurant; evidence that his roommate George may be having sex with chickens on the sly; his vague efforts to determine the identity of the "phantom pant scrubber," someone who spends an inordinate amount of time in the men's bathroom at work apparently scrubbing his underwear with steel wool. ("What the hell is wrong with his arse?" Rick writes.)
There is much crude talk of bowel movements and their ilk in the book and a fair number of post-Heidi drunken interludes that do not, however, end with Rick pantsless and broke. Rick also includes in his diary the text of the articles he writes for the paper, with increasing competence, on usually uninteresting small-town issues.
Journo's Diary, as its name suggests, is written in the form of a diary, and the book stops when the pages in Rick's diary run out. The book is chapterless, but its organization into journal entries segment it into bite-sized chunks. The book itself is a quick and sometimes funny read, though its pace is slowed by the inclusion of the text of Rick's newspaper articles.
These do contribute to our understanding of Rick's life as a disillusioned first-year journalist, but they are not interesting of themselves. Detailing as it does a twenty-something lifestyle--Rick's life is at least more raucous than mine has ever been (though that's not saying much)--Journo's Diary will appeal in particular to the younger crowd, and to anyone who's ever worked as a journalist.
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