The Full Ridiculous is the first novel by Australian screenwriter and author, Mark Lamprell. Pleased to have survived being hit by a car, journalist Michael O’Dell leaves the hospital telling his wife, Wendy, that at least things can’t get any worse. Famous last words, he later comes to realise, as his life unravels in a cascade of events that resembles a train wreck. He’s in pain and unable to muster up the will to work on his book, and Wendy’s job is the sole source of family income. Then daughter Rosie uncharacteristically uses violence to resolve a dispute and son Declan appears to be hiding drugs in his bedroom. As parent/teacher meetings loom and bills threaten, a weird police constable seems determined to persecute the family. This is a book about ordinary people doing ordinary things and having (mostly) ordinary things happen to them, but somehow it manages to strike a chord and be very funny into the bargain. The main character is imperfect, self-deprecating and easy to identify with. “You’ve been avoiding mirrors lately but you know if you looked you’d find yourself doing an alarmingly accurate impersonation of an over-stuffed sausage.” His worries and fears are common to many of us. Michael’s observation on psychiatric questionnaires is particularly perceptive: “On the inside you feel like a complex mass of intertwining disasters but maybe from the outside you’re just a Fuck-up Grade B with a degree of difficulty of zero point seven.” Lamprell takes the unusual step of narrating this story in the second person: perhaps this is a side effect of being a screenwriter, and, while it takes a moment to get used to, it does work. Michael’s inner monologue is clever, often hilarious, and occasionally quite stirring. This is a funny, thought-provoking and ultimately inspiring tale that will have the reader thinking about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, adoption, self-worth, suicide, peer pressure, unconditional love, self-delusion and hospital ceilings. An outstanding debut novel.