Sunday, August 10, 2008

It's a comedy, and a good one at that, so why am I not laughing?

While waiting for my watch to be adjusted, I wandered (lonely as a cloud) through the pedestrianised area in Falkirk. My interest was piqued, briefly, by the sounds of a lone piper, but when I sought the busker I instead found that it was a weeding in progress. There were many gawkers, but having seen many a weeding in my time I elected not to join them.

Instead, I made my way to Waterstones, where I purchased the second James Bond novel, "Live and Let Die" (the order of the novels is completely different from the order of the films), and Rob Grant's novel, "Fat". This latter I started reading yesterday, and have finished this evening.

(Note: spoilers follow. If you don't want to know, stop reading.)

Now, Rob Grant is one half of the team that created Red Dwarf. Perhaps tellingly, he is also the half that departed the show before the disasterous seventh and eighth series. He has written several novels, all of which I have now read. And, I have found them all extremely funny, until now. (In fact, "Incompetnece", which I consider his best work to date, had my laughing so hard I actually lost my voice.)

I did not find "Fat" funny. It really should have been: the characters were well-drawn, the plots were amusing (all but one), the observational humour was spot-on, and the style was the same as in his other books.

So what was wrong?

Well, fundamentally, the problem was the plot surrounding Hayley Griffin, one of his three main characters. Who, being a teenage girl in a world obsessed with weight, does what too many teenage girls in our weight-obsessed world do... which, frankly, just isn't funny. It's awful. And it's especially awful when the chapters are written from her point of view... and she speaks with a 'voice' that reads eerily like Cousin RJ's now-defunct blog.

Now, I'm not suggesting that the book shouldn't have tackled the subject. I'm not even saying that it is a bad book - on the contrary, it is a very good book, and I strongly recommend it. It's just not a funny subject, and as a consequence, it's just not a funny book.

Having now become thoroughly depressed with this all-too-real of a near-future world where being overweight is a crime, I shall retire for the night. I have work tomorrow, which I'm sure will lighten my spirits.

No comments: