Monday, 13 August 2012

Book Review - Life Knocks

Life Knocks by Craig Stone
Released 16th February 2012

eBook 436 pages
Rating 3/5
Source Sent by author
Where to buy Amazon

Amazon summary
This is a love story for anyone that has ever loved and lost; it’s a story about how two people in love are capable of setting themselves on fire because of the human condition to turn good things bad.

Life Knocks is the prequel to “The Squirrel that Dreamt of Madness.”

In 2004 Colossus quits his city job because he feels he is on the wrong path and as a consequence of following his thoughts he ends up falling in love, travelling through Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand and living on Kauai, the smallest of the habitable Hawaiian Islands.

The story is told from two timelines; one in the present day and one in the past.

Whilst we learn about Colossus then, we also see him now.
Back at work again.

Back doing a job that makes him miserable and with a senile old landlord that obsesses over him, lives in the same building and won’t leave him alone.

So what went right, what went wrong?

Life Knocks is about how Colossus Sosloss had nothing, then achieved more than most could dream, then lost everything and starts again.

This is a love story; but it’s so much more than that.
And it’s no Hollywood love story either.
And it’s funny.

Colossus meets and survives the Cambodian mafia, almost drowns in Thailand, survives hiking a mountain on six Pringles, takes on five Thai guys whilst on acid in a jungle on New Year’s Eve and that’s not half of it.
In the present day he has to manoeuvre around the bizarre world of his racist, homophobic, sexist, anti-everything and everyone landlord that won’t leave him alone and has a penchant for prostitutes.

His landlord breaks into his flat, brings him soup randomly at 3am, throws Colossus between himself and a prostitute he has angered, and threatens the life of Colossus when for inexplicable reasons the landlord accuses him of being Somalian.

And all this why Colossus Sosloss is trying to find love again and recover from the failed love that led him to his present day; it’s not easy for Colossus to find love, maybe because he’s not sure he wants it, but he thinks he should; so sit back and read about his attempts to impress several girls that end up being some of the most awkward moments to be documented by man.

My thoughts...
Life Knocks is the second book from Craig Stone, but the first of his that I have read.  Overall I enjoyed the book, I found the characters interesting, witty and real and the story took you on a special journey with Colossus.

At the beginning I struggled to get into the book, and I think this is mainly down to the way the book is written. The story is written from Colossus's point of view, one paragraph he will be describing an event in his life, the next he will go off an a tangent with some strange thought (this is probably due to the amount of drugs and alcohol he has consumed though). At time this confused me and I did find myself having to re-read sections. To me, this made the book harder to read and I felt that the book would have worked fine without these pieces of information.

With that being said, as the story developed these random outbursts made a lot more sense, probably because I started to understand Colossus a lot more and they didn't seem so strange.
One of the things that I really like in this book is the character development. You follow Colossus through various times in his life, from a young man falling in love for the first time, to an adult having made a lot of mistakes and bad decisions trying to turn his life around.
Mohammed was my favourite character in the book and I always looked forward to seeing what he had been getting up to, and with him I really felt that his problems were resolved in the end. Whereas I think more could have been done with Lily for us to get to know her better so that we could have had more sympathy for her during the big argument chapter.

The ending, I feel, didn't answer all of my questions... what happened to Alicia and Julia? What happened to Colossus? Did he move out to live in the park? Did he find love again? Did he finally eat something other than rice, tuna and curry sauce? Did he realise that he is an alcoholic and stop drinking? I personally would have liked to have seen more closure to his story, as much as the character was developed throughout it could have gone that little bit further to finish it off.

I don't want to be negative about the book, because it really is a brilliant read and I have already recommended it to several people, I am just being picky with my comments and being completely honest. The very first chapter is one of the funniest I have read in a long time and I am certain that a lot of people will be able to relate to it on some level and will have dreamed about sending something very similar themselves, I know I have!

Until next time, keep reading! x

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