Thursday, September 2, 2010

Book Review: Friendly Fire by Wil Anderson

Friendly Fire - Wil Anderson

In this book, Australian comedian Wil Anderson explores a diverse range of topics- from childhood obesity to Valentine’s Day, trackie pants to terrorism, aging to four-wheel-drive etiquette, and exercise regimes to VB beer ads- putting his own unique spin on it all. Nothing is sacred as Anderson shifts from topic to topic, stating his views on each and raising some intriguing questions (for example, why is it that you can always come up with the perfect comeback for an insult about thirty seconds too late?). But he also looks at some more serious issues, like the pitiful amount of money that pensioners receive every fortnight and Australia’s binge drinking culture.
Many fascinating points are covered in this funny and often satirical novel.

What I gained from reading this book:
Anderson raises some interesting points in his second novel- although it’s debatable whether anyone would have even thought of the topics he mentions, if they hadn’t read about them in his book. He discusses the term ‘un-Australian’, and talks about how it is used to describe people who do not meet the standards of Australian society, querying why other nations don’t use a similar label for their ‘unpatriotic citizens’. He talks about the perils of weddings, and how gift buying is almost becoming a competitive sport. He complains about unfair ATM fees, where ‘you know the fees are getting too high when you go down to the local RSL and end up losing more on the teller machine than on the pokies’.
Basically, this book is an avenue for Anderson to complain about all aspects of life- but in a witty and entertaining way. This book also reminds readers that everyone has to deal with the same little problems in everyday life, and no one is immune from wanting to have a good whinge once in a while.

The way that this book is set out reminds me of a stand-up comedy act. Anderson’s narrative flows from topic to topic, using language that wouldn’t be out of place on stage, in front of an audience. It could be because he is a popular entertainer, in the media and at comedy festivals, but you can almost imagine him standing in front of you and performing his gags (which feature in the book). In other words, this book brings the stand-up comedian into the room with you, and what’s not to love about that?

Unless you have grown up in Australia (or live overseas and have an excellent knowledge of Australian people/places/pop culture references), a lot of the witticism of this book could be lost on you. You kind of need to have an understanding of these things to be able to appreciate Anderson’s humour, so this novel is probably better suited to Australian readers, rather than international readers.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Genre: Non-Fiction Humour

Recommended for: Anyone who is a fan of Wil Anderson.

Australians can buy the book by clicking the picture below:

Friendly Fire

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