This book popped up into my life via a whimsical Oxfam purchase, spurred on mainly by the delightful cover adorned by 6 doughnuts. I’d vaguely heard of it and it said on the front ‘Richard and Judy’s Book Club shortlist’ so I thought, thats got to be worth £1.99 for charity. Before I go on and say anything about the book, I have to question the motives of whoever designed the cover; I suspect they are associated, in some way at least, with Krispy Kreme or some other doughnut brand. Never have I bought so many doughnuts as I have in the month it took me to read this book. Theres something about those 6 golden, iced ringlets smiling up at me that convince me, on an almost daily basis, that yes, what I really do need right now in my life is a doughnut. So maybe this book should come with a warning: do not buy if you are on a diet. It is a bad influence.
This is a book, not a baked goods, blog though. So back to the matter in hand: ‘this book will save your life’ (lower case on the cover, so lower case on the blog). Its about Richard Novak, a stocks and shares trader, rolling in money in his LA mansion. He lives alone, with his cleaner and macrobiotic diet for company. This book tracks him, slowly and oddly, as he rediscovers what there is to life. Richard’s paradigm shift is sparked off by an earth-shattering pain, which initiates a series of curiosities. We see Richard wending his way through life, encountering horses in sink holes, a doughnut making immigrant Indian and a dog called Malibu. We watch as Richard’s life grows and evolves, as he meets new people and redefines what he has become.
It isn’t all oddly-shaped rainbows and petticoats though. Cautiously, quietly,there’s divorce, homosexuality, isolation, death…but it’s gentle and probing, not shoved in your face as issues that must be dealt with. This book absorbed me, I questioned without thinking too hard and cared without being reduced to tears.
You may ask why it took me a month to finish a book which so far I haven’t said a bad word about. Well, I will confess, I am a girl of short attention span and a pitifully lacking sticking-power. I flit from book to book like a banker between mistresses. If it doesn’t grip me in the first few chapters, it gathers dust by my bedside. I am the Donald Draper to first season Betty. If i’m not getting what I want from a book, I leave it and find it elsewhere. So, for a book to stay in my life for a whole lunar cycle whilst I juggle it with my ever-increasing work load, that says something. (It says its good.)
This is a little gem of a book. An unusual read, I probably wouldn’t go so far as to say it would save your life, but it will definitely enhance it for a short span. I’d recommend it for moments of contemplation – not because it gives you any real answers, but because it makes you realise that you don’t actually need any.