Book Review: The Best Book in The World by Peter Stjernström

The Best Book in The World
by Peter Stjernström, Rod Bradbury (Translator)

Publication date: September 27, 2013
Publisher: Hesperus Press
Pages: 400


Summary:

Who will win the race to write the best book in the world, and to what unimaginable lengths will they go to get there first? A hilarious tale of authorly competition.

Titus Jensen is middle-aged, has a fondness for alcohol, and makes ends meet by giving public readings from obscure books at festivals across Sweden. He can’t help thinking there has to be more to life for an author of his quality. Eddie X is hip, a hit with the ladies, and loves being the center of attention. A radical poet and regular on the festival circuit, he can’t help thinking there has to be more to life for a talented, good-looking man like himself. One night, after a successful event—Titus reads from The Diseases of Swedish Monarchs and Eddie X waxes lyrical to the thrashing tones of metal band The Tourettes—the unlikely pair get horribly drunk together and hatch a plan to achieve worldwide recognition. The answer is to write the best book in the world—a book so amazing that it will end up on all the bestseller lists in every category imaginable: thriller, self-help, cooking, business, dieting—a book that combines everything in one! But there can only be one such book, and as the alcohol-induced haze clears both men realize they are not willing to share the limelight. Hilariously quirky and witty, this novel will take readers on a meandering race to the finish line, throwing plenty of satirical punches along the way.

Source: Goodreads


Thoughts:

Before I start I must mention that I read the unedited proof copy of this book, obtained through a book swapping website.

This is another book I chose for its brightly coloured cover without having a clue what it was about. When I received it, I instantly thought it was going to be a major flop for me; claiming your book is the best is a very bold statement! But then I read the blurb and discovered that that was not what author Peter Stjernström was claiming and was intrigued to get started.

The story follows two authors, Titus Jensen and Spoken Word poet Eddie X, both living in Stockholm. One drunken evening they come up with the idea of putting together a book which could become a best seller in many different categories at once; “The Best Book in The World”. From self help to DIY to crime and romance all covered in one book, the men believe they are on to a winner.

At first I thought this was stupid. Titus gets to work on writing the book with help from his editor and publishing company. They give him a laptop only accessible through a breathalyser to determine its user’s alcohol level. The computer also shuts itself off after 6 hours to prevent overworking. I have no idea if this is possible, but it seems somewhat unrealistic and even the concept of the book seemed ridiculous to me, who would want to read such a text, especially one with such an arrogant name!

But then I suppose I began to enjoy the story, in spite of its implausible plot points. It’s fiction, sometimes fiction can be a little out there! I enjoyed the little welcome messages from the computer, Titus’ did discovery of the four seasons on a Quatteo pizza and his witty thoughts to himself. In the end I found this to be fun and a quick, fast paced read which flows well.

I liked the character of Titus, at first imagining the character from “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”; the only other person I’ve come across with the same name. He’s likeable and as the two lead men tried to outdo each other, I felt as though I was rooting for him throughout his battle with sobreity. I actually wanted him to finish the book problem free. However, I couldn’t warm to Eddie X. His coloured hair, baggy trousers and hundreds of fans didn’t seem to match the personality he was given. His character, among others, seemed underdeveloped.

But what really let this book down for me was the ending of Part 2. This is where I just couldn’t accept the ridiculousness of the events. I rolled my eyes at times and skimmed my way through some paragraphs. The very end of the book, Part 3, didn’t redeem itself either. The twist confused me. Despite rereading the ending a couple of times, I’m still confused, I don’t know what it was going on about and from what I can see, other reviewers seem to agree.

Overall rating : “The Best Book in The World” may not live up to its name, but it is fun, silly and lighthearted. Unfortunately it’s the ending that lets it down which is the reason for this book receiving 3 stars.


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