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Book DetailsISBN: 9781922147264
Michael O'Dell is hit by a car. When he doesn't die, he is surprised and pleased. But he can't seem to move from the crash position. He can't concentrate, or control his anger and grief, or work out what to do about anything much. His wife Wendy is heroically supportive but his teenage children don't help his post-accident angst: daughter Rosie punches out a vindictive schoolmate and all hell breaks loose; son Declan is found with a stash of illicit drugs. A strange policeman starts harrassing the family and ordinary mishaps take on a sinister desperation. To top it all off, Michael's professional life starts to crumble. With this funny, compelling novel about love, family and the precarious business of being a man, Mark Lamprell's extraordinary debut examines the terrible truth: sometimes you can't pull yourself together until you've completely fallen apart.
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Book Review: Full Ridiculous by Mark Lamprell - Reviewed by CloggieA (25 Sep 2013)
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.
Mark Lamprell has worked in film and television for many years. He co-wrote the film Babe Pig in the City and wrote and directed the award-winning feature My Mother Frank. His most recent project is the movie musical Goddess, which he co-wrote and directed. The Full Ridiculous is his first novel.
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