The wit of the writing in this novel is absolutely sublime and made me laugh out loud continuously.
My rating this book ⭐︎⭐︎⭐︎⭐︎
- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 2655 KB
- Print Length: 296 pages
- Publisher: Matador (24 Sep 2014)
- ASIN: B00NX11LBK
Ebook available to buy from: Amazon UK, Amazon US,
Book: Book Depository, Waterstones and more
Henry Robson is suffering. He is a balding, failing actor living all alone in rural Dorset. When two choices present themselves, he inadvisedly selects both…
Initially, a torrid affair seems to tick all the boxes, but any happiness derived from the liaison soon unravels when Henry, untrained as a teacher, accepts employment at a school run by a madman. Finding himself surrounded by specialists in humiliation – professional, public and private – will he learn his lesson?
Follow the adventures and misadventures of this lovable but hapless rogue, a man all the more endearing for his weaknesses. Laugh as slapstick jostles for supremacy with the surreal, and cry twice over at moments of utter poignancy.
An Aga-saga for men (and for women wishing to know what men are really thinking), Lessons in Humiliation falls headlong towards a most unexpected dénouement. Fans of humorous fiction will find themselves crying both with laughter and out of sympathy for the plight of the narrator.
Some writers just have a gift for seeing a bizarre characters in an otherwise normal people and bringing them to life, and Timothy Edward’s has this gift. A novel based around the author’s own experiences it is heartbreakingly hilarious.
What is different about this book: It is a tale of negotiating a way through relationships told from a man’s perspective, the highs, the lows, the failures and triumphs, the humiliation. This is what makes this book special along with the authors wonderful little illustrations at the beginning of each chapter.
I enjoyed this book very much, it made me laugh, it made me sad, it made me feel anxious and depressed. I love the style of the writing which was straight from the humiliated soul!
So here we have Henry, in the a cottage in the Village of the Damned, a failing actor unable to somehow secure a major role talking or non talking. We first encounter him auditioning for an advert, whereby he is required to drop his trousers and take a dump in a street! He somehow fails to get the role.
His life does not get better when he accepts a part time job as a drama teacher at St Gussage’s school, a privately run boarding school ruled by the mad Piers Halliday, who was undoubtedly my favourite character. As the Headmaster, Piers is a wonderful caricature of a man whose lack of sensibility and political correctness knows no boundaries. He is a self: admired and appointed king of his domain – the school. Meanwhile Henry falls in
lust love with Valerie who is a queen emasculator , and thereupon ensues a tortuous affair which he is unable to wean himself of. I wanted to take Valerie and banish her from being anywhere near men forever.
I am going to admit to feeling somewhat exasperated at Henry as he accepts yet another emasculation from this woman, I wanted to take Henry by the shoulders, shake him and tell him to ‘grow some balls man!
Each time Valerie turned up again, I found myself sighing and thinking no not again, ‘just say no, because you just know this is not going to be good’, but painfully he was eager for some more abuse from her, you just want it to stop. But at the same time Edward’s gives it immense humour. An astute observation of some relationships: you know its going to be bad but you can’t help yourself from repeating it hoping that this time it will be different, but of course it never is.
Then Henry a failure as an actor and a failure as a man, embarks on seeking his birth mother and finds a family with which he can call his own. This is the one good thing about his life, to be loved with the ability to have a relationship with his mother and uncle. On the up side and home; he has a wonderfully sardonic wit which gives him the superiority in being able to deal with the mad headmaster much to the awe of the other cowering staff and pupils.
I just have to give you a little snippets of the part when the Visiting Examiner (VE) comes to the school to assess the drama students. Having just learnt that the school’s old horse, smelly dog, and boy who looks after them in the stables are all called Oscar, Henry continues to enlighten the VE further about the school’s animals.
HENRY: “…in fact, there’s another equally smelly dog who’d love to meet you; he’ll be with Matron somewhere.”
VE: “The School Matron is in charge of a dog?”
HENRY: “Of course. She’s besotted with that animal….She ’s also the school’s designated peacock keeper…”
“We have rats too,” I add, warming to my theme. “Usually dead though – in the wall behind the accounts office.” ….
“Mice too, but we don’t mind them because we need mice to feed the snakes.”
VE: “Snakes?” she crackles……
And on it continues in the same vein!!
This book is so funny, but so achingly cringeworthy at the same time.
Who should read this book?
1. Any man who is unable to leave a bad relationship
2. Any woman who needs to see how ugly it can look when emasculating harmless men.
3. Any Headmaster with grandeurs above his level of standing.
4. Anyone else who loves an intelligently well written wit and a good laugh.
Who is Tim Edwards? I ask this because this book makes you want to know who the author is and hope that he there are more like this. I so want to read more from him.
Many thanks to the Publisher for a digital copy of this book via NetGalley in return for my honest review