Calling Major Tom by David M. Barnett #BookReview

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callingmtTitle: Calling Major Tom
Author: David M. Barnett
Series: N/A
Format: Digital ARC, 304 pages
Publication Details: June 18th 2017 by Trapeze
Genre(s): General Fiction; Science Fiction
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

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CALLING MAJOR TOM is a heart-warming and ultimately life-affirming story of a man who has given up on the world… but discovers in the most unlikely way that it might not have given up on him.

We all know someone like Thomas.

The grumpy next-door-neighbour who complains to the Residents’ Committee about the state of your front lawn. The man who tuts when you don’t have the correct change at the checkout. The colleague who sends an all-company email when you accidentally use the last drop of milk.

Thomas is very happy to be on his own, far away from other people and their problems.

But beneath his cranky exterior lies a story and a sadness that is familiar to us all. And he’s about to encounter a family who will change his view of the world.

Review

Calling Major Tom is a story about family and friendship, and more importantly about losing your way.

Thomas Major is an extremely grumpy scientist who partly by chance and partly by his own stupidity becomes the first man to be sent to Mars. It’s basically a suicide mission but that doesn’t bother Thomas. He’s just happy that he’ll be alone. For a really, really long time, if not forever.

Thinking he’s calling his ex-wife from space, Thomas actually gets through to Gladys, a grandmother suffering from dementia and he’s unwittingly thrown into the lives of a family with some very real problems.

Despite his best efforts to be alone, Thomas Major finds himself trying to help the family from space, and in helping them he learns that maybe he’s not quite the lost cause he thought he was.

Calling Major Tom is wonderfully odd. It’s one of those genuine heart-warming stories that just makes you smile. It’s far-fetched; not at all realistic in plot, but each and every character stands out providing a good injection of realness to bring us back down to earth.

That’s not to say that I didn’t find some faults in it. There seemed a  tendency to jump from one scene or thought to the next without any transition, but that may have just been the pre-proof format to be fair. However, it did put me off at first until I got into the erratic rhythm of it.

I am always impressed by anyone who can create a wonderful story like this, but what impressed me the most was how current it was. There are references to David Bowie’s death and Brexit which makes me wonder when Barnett started writing it and how long it took him. I loved all the Bowie references, naturally, and its crazy quirkiness and undeniable charm made it a perfect tribute to the great man.

 

unicorn rating 4

 

Top Ten Tuesday: All the LOLZ #FunnyFiction #TTT

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is…Top Ten Books to Make you Laugh

  • A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon: I found this book really funny as well as bittersweet and slightly heartbreaking. George was darkly hilarious without meaning to be.

“George Hall doesn’t understand the modern obsession with talking about everything. ‘The secret of contentment, George felt, lay in ignoring many things completely.”

 

  • Mystery Man & Dan Starkey by Colin Bateman: I feel like I’ve  talked about Bateman’s books too much on this blog since I started it,  but it’s impossible not to include both of his hilarious series on this list. They are black humour at its best. I did a whole feature on it here. And, Dan Starkey is a feckless journalist who finds himself in ridiculously stupid yet very sticky situations, constantly! [Review]

“Serial Killer Week got off to an inauspicious start when the opening wine and bean evening was invaded by a former prisoner who misinterpreted the poster, but he was at least able to give us the professional’s view of the genre.”

  • The Gates by John Connolly: Samuel Johnson and his dachshund, Boswell are a hilarious duo in John Connolly’s book about demon neighbours, portals, and the Large Hadron Collider. 
  • Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy: A sarcastic skeleton detective and a girl who kicks ass…what more could you want? 
  • Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins: Pitched as ‘Legally Blonde meets The Terminator’, this book was full of genuine laughs and also laughs from the ridiculousness of it. In a good way. It was a lot of fun. [Review]
  • The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell: I absolutely loved this book. I don’t think it was supposed to be a comedy so to speak but protagonist Samantha Whipple really made me laugh. [Review] 
  • Horns by Joe Hill: I’m not really sure why I found this book funny, but I did. It was pretty dark and twisted but the protagonist’s reaction to what was happening to him was amusing. [Review] 
  • The Martian by Andy Weir: Mark Watney provides some much needed humour in this book about one man stranded on Mars. [Review] 

    “If I could have anything, it would be a radio to ask NASA the safe path down the Ramp. Well, if I could have anything, it would be for the green-skinned yet beautiful Queen of Mars to rescue me so she can learn more about this Earth thing called ‘lovemaking’.” 

  • I am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak: It’s been a long time since I read this one so I can’t remember it in great detail, but I do remember that I loved Ed Kennedy’s self-deprecating sense of humour in it and that it made me laugh.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top ten books which feature characters who…crack me up!

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

The topic for this week is: Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who _____ (are musically inclined, have lost someone, have depression, who grow up poor, etc.) I decided to go for my favourite funny characters. The ones that make you do a LOL when reading in public places.

Book titles link to the Goodreads page

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Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy: “Magic, monsters, crime fighting, a sarcastic skeleton detective and a girl who kicks ass…what more could you want?”

Mystery Man & Dan Starkey by Colin Bateman: Black humour at its best. Mystery Man is like Bernard Black from Black Books, trying to solve crimes. So good! I did a whole feature on it here. And, Dan Starkey is a feckless journalist who finds himself in ridiculously stupid yet very sticky situations, constantly!

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness: Manchee the dog provides a lot of laughs and also tears in this book. I’ve never known a literary dog to have so much impact! Genius. [Review]

I am the Messenger by Marcus Zuzak: I loved Ed Kennedy’s self-deprecating sense of humour in this book. It’s such an underrated book overall in my opinion.

The Gates by John Connolly: Samuel Johnson and his dachshund, Boswell are a hilarious duo in John Connolly’s book about demon neighbours, portals, and the Large Hadron Collider.

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A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon: I found this book really funny as well as bittersweet and slightly heartbreaking.

George Hall doesn’t understand the modern obsession with talking about everything. ‘The secret of contentment, George felt, lay in ignoring many things completely.’

I loved George so much, and he was darkly hilarious without meaning to be.

The Martian by Andy Weir: Mark Watney provides some much needed humour in this book about one man stranded on Mars. [Review]

The Ruby Redfort books by Lauren Child: I loved Ruby’s ‘sarky, feisty wit’ in these action-packed spy books. [Review]

The Flavia de Luce books by Alan Bradley: “Flavia is witty, tenacious and doggedly independent with a fiery, yet caring spirit,” making these classic mystery books a breath of fresh air. [Review]