Friday, 16 March 2012

Life Knocks Well and Truly Rocks!!!

Life Knocks by Craig Stone: A Review           5/5

After reading The Squirrel That Dreamt of Madness, I was eagerly anticipating the release of its follow up, Life Knocks. With the severity of my withdrawal symptoms beginning to cause some rather painful physical problems (trust me you really don't want to know) I took it as a miracle (as a rule I don't believe in miracles but this is an exception) it was released only a few weeks after I'd finished Squirrel. Again, this is a self-published e-book available via the Amazon Kindle Store but there are a number of e-readers available which make it accessible for those without one.

To be faced with something equally wonderful and enjoyable yet profoundly different in style to its predecessor I devoured the book in a manner not unlike that of a vulture stumbling across fresh carrion. It gripped me and pulled me in as if I were connected to it via an umbilical cord I couldn't detach myself from even when I had to get my ass to work. Indeed every time I got to the end of a chapter I continued reading on regardless of the time. The result was many a very tired morning and eyes looking like I'd done a few rounds in the boxing ring the night before. Sacrificing sleep was well worth it and I'd actually consider sacrificing weekends off work and annual leave if it meant being assured either a follow up to the adventures of Colossus Sosloss or something completely different from this talented young writer.

We have in Craig an intelligent, humorous, hopeful realist with an ability to render you a laughing mess on one page while pulling firmly at your emotional heart strings the next. He is someone who writes from deep within but based on spot on observations of himself, others and the experiences that ensue.

This is a life story and a love story but like it says on the tin there is no Hollywood ending. With Life Knocks you don't just get what it says on the tin either. Craig offers so much more whether it's musings about why black stains mysteriously appear overnight in his unused sink ('the pixie slaves forced to march across the sink in dirty boots after mining jewels for evil fairy overlords') or calling into question our use of general sayings ('...we need to start saying we had a whale of a time only when backed into a corner and harpooned to death'). There are countless more of these in addition to much sharp observational humour so rich in description you can't help but feel like you're physically part of the story, watching from a bush or a nearby pub table.

Primarily this book acts as a prequel to the events in Squirrel. It begins many months prior to Colossus' voluntary homelessness detailing the trials and tribulations which led to him making that particular decision. Where the non-Hollywood love story ties in is in a beautifully interlacing history of how he met his love, travelled with her, set up home in Hawaii for a while before the relationship began to break down. Make no mistake, this is no mere run of the mill romance yarn but a full on autobiographical adventure story. It's perfectly paced and the two differently timed stories of the main character merge together so effortlessly you cannot but want more.

Why I think Craig's writing works so well is that everyone can draw or take something from it in the positive way you'd expect to in taking out the time to read something. When you reach the end there's a feeling of reward in the way it has all flowed to its conclusion. Dare I even say I felt somewhat enlightened? I believe this makes it completely accessible whatever genre may be your usual preference. 

I urge you to go now and buy this book because if you don't you're seriously in danger of missing out on one of the best independent writers out there today. Plus you'd potentially be responsible for the worsening problems caused by my withdrawal symptoms which have returned with a vengeance since completing it. I sincerely look forward to the next offering.

Thanks Craig for another great read.

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