Wallace’s latest book is perfect reading material for the beach. Its central premise is quite simply how our lives could be dramatically altered were we to say ‘yes’ more frequently.
The positive philosophy behind the book neatly sidesteps the genre of self-help books in the witty and anecdotal nature of Wallace’s style. The book operates more as a diary of one man’s year, and how he helped himself out of a post-relationship slump.
His ‘carpe diem’ mentality leads him to many bizarre situations, such as helping the son of a murdered Sultan sort out his finances, joining a group that believe the pyramids were built by aliens, and undergoing hypnosis by Murphy the hypnodog.
The quirky, offbeat comedy is embedded within a more everyday narrative of pub trips and meetings. It is these down to earth aspects that make the novel so appealing, and his quest to change so easy to relate to.
Wallace’s feigned naivety – and at times stupidity – is a slightly ineffective and problematic part of the text. Despite this, the book is cleverly written and endorses an outlook of positivity that holds a resonance for us all – perhaps particularly for us students whose time at university can appear so brief. Who knows what the knock-on effect of joining that society, answering that email or going to that party (or even lecture) could be . . ?