Homelessness might just help…
Review: The Squirrel That Dreamt of Madness by Craig Stone
Do you ever wish you could quit your mind numbingly tedious job? Feel like you’re dangerously close to telling your employer precisely where they can lodge their pay freeze? Now you need not follow through thanks to one guy who already did (well, he did the former anyway). Choosing voluntary homelessness rather than voluntary redundancy, Craig Stone set up ‘home’ in aLondonpark in the guise of main character Colossus Sosloss. Armed with a 450 GSM sleeping bag fromArgos, a pad and a pen the result is a rip roaring wondrous actual laugh out loud funny adventure as he chronicles the days that followed.
Just reading a few existing reviews sucked me right into the world of Colossus. I felt compelled to buy the book and find out more of what it was all about. I thoroughly enjoyed the white knuckle ride through Gladstone Park it whisked me off on, meeting such richly woven colourful characters like the midget park keeper who ‘looks like two pillows tied together with old rope stuffed into a bag with a worried face drawn onto it by a gorilla with arthritis.’ Then there’s Moonface, ‘a fat ginger man up a tree that looks like a space hopper with anger issues’, not to mention Dorangel Vargus and PC Whirled. There’s even a cameo from the voice of Stephen Fry as a human sized fox wearing a lab coat. What more could one ask for?
Warning: Uncontrollable Laughter Zone
This book should come with a warning if you’re reading it in the presence of others because you will end up laughing raucously at the turn of every page. A worthy example is the discussion about how it seems to be common for superheroes to turn bad in their third movie outing. Colossus asks if, ‘In Lassie three, will Lassie grow a beard, smoke cigarettes and push kids down wells and lock them in abandoned mines?’ The imagery this paints is a pure delight. And I can’t imagine anywhere else you’ll find a list of ways to kill a budgie some of which include, ‘cooking them in a sandwich, drowning them in a bath (with weights) and kick them in the balls.’ From Colossus sized carrots to the intricately detailed description of how the animals communicated when trying to decide how to deal with the animal murderer stalking the park are simply sublime.
Humour is not all Craig has in his bag but if it was he does it so well it’d be more than enough to propel you all the way to the end still wanting more. There are also poignant stories invoking feelings of sadness and pity. How wonderful to have one’s emotions played with in a way that can sadly be missing in stories today. There are wonderful moments of philosophical clarity and observational genius. Others offer an existential reflection echoing thoughts on issues resonating with many people as we desperately try to find our place in a heavily saturated trend loving routine laden world; a world where anyone with an original personality is often pigeonholed as a geek, an eccentric or even worse, a weirdo.
An Effortless Flow
With a flawless flow to the whole story demonstrated by the effortless way Craig goes off on several tangents, he manages to keep the writing eloquently cohesive. Not a word is out of place. Here is a new writer with a unique voice, both distinctive and original making this not only a ‘must’ read for all but an ‘if you don’t read it you will pay for it bitterly in the afterlife (whether or not you believe in an afterlife is immaterial)’ kind of book.
Then, just when you’re near the end and think it couldn’t possibly get better you’re faced with an interesting if unexpected twist as all the threads are neatly tied up. For me, this really finished the story on what was already going to be a mountainous high.
So if you want to discover why Colossus ended up being beaten up while dressed as a fish finger sandwich I urge you to buy this book! To wrap up I’ll use the words of his landlord who told him when he packed up his belongings and moved out, ‘I will miss you Colossus Sosloss colossally.’
About the Author
Craig is an indie author who self published via Amazon Kindle. He actually did make himself homeless to live in the park and write this book. He’s also recently published the follow up to Squirrel which acts as a prequel. ‘Life Knocks’ has a different feel altogether which is of course refreshing. So many writers fall into a particular style instead of offering something new with their subsequent works. Don’t get me wrong though as it has what I’d already call the author’s own stamp. I highly recommend both books for anyone looking for an intellectually entertaining read where you’re rewarded for your efforts. You’d be mad to miss out on them!
You can purchase The Squirrel That Dreamt of Madness for Kindle for £1.95 here
Life Knocks is available for £4.57 here