Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{December 23, 2013}   {Review} Doodling by Jonathan Gould

10880532From Goodreads: Neville Lansdowne fell off the world.

Actually he did not so much fall off as let go. The world had been moving so quickly lately and Neville was finding it almost impossible to keep up.

Doodling is an engaging comic fantasy which relates the events that befall Neville after he finds himself abandoned by the world and adrift in the middle of an asteroid field. Douglas Adams meets Lewis Carroll (with just a touch of Gulliver’s Travels) as Neville wanders through his new home, meeting a variety of eccentric characters and experiencing some most unexpected adventures.


This short novella has many aspects that make it utterly absurd, aspects that I believe middle grade readers, and even the younger end of young adult readers, will really enjoy.  I, myself, am not really a lover of the absurd or fantastical, however, I understand its appeal for those who just want to read something interesting and not have to find deep meaning behind every single book they pick up.  The English teacher in me, of course, wants to discuss how this novella is actually a clever metaphor for the world in which we live, with our fast-paced lives and ridiculous “first world” problems, but I will refrain because I can just see my students cringing as I launch into it, them telling me to just enjoy the story and stop picking it apart… just know it’s there, and going into the reading knowing that makes it much more fun for readers like me.  Overall, this is a very well written novella (with a deep-rooted meaning) and, as I said previously, I believe that younger readers will really enjoy the fantastical aspect of it all.  Three stars.

3 stars

I received this novella from the author in exchange for an honest review.

11279484From Goodreads: In the black hole of excess and wealth that is Los Angeles, Lonnie Herisson’s life is about to get weird. Forced to find work after his live-in girlfriend stops paying the bills and moves out of his eyesore of a house, Lonnie takes a job house sitting for a private investigator. When a mysterious man arrives looking to hire someone to keep tabs on his supposedly unfaithful lover, Lonnie sees it as a golden opportunity to make easy money. He pretends to be the investigator and takes the case.

The job leads Lonnie into the seedy world of L.A. real estate, where his target, chain-smoking nymphomaniac Gertie Elliot, uses a variety of dubious techniques to sell houses. But as he gets deeper into the investigation, he learns that things aren’t as obvious as they appeared to be at the beginning, and that Gertie Elliot is actually linked to the surprising, secret origins of one of Hollywood’s most cherished films.

With this new knowledge in hand, Lonnie must find a way to make as much money as possible off of an increasingly complicated situation. Funded by rent money he receives from his mysterious foreign renter and accompanied by his side-kick black poodle, Lonnie navigates his way through blackmail, violence, and epic superficiality as he attempts to straighten out his life, win back his girlfriend, and become an L.A. success.


This is one of those surreal novels that can go one of two ways for readers: they will either chuckle nonstop with the absurdity of it all, or they will find it juvenile and unreal.  I’m one who chuckled.  L.A. Success is filled with incongruent situations and characters, which pulled me into the story because it’s a refreshing change from all the true-to-life contemporary novels I’ve been reading lately.  Lonnie goes from being a lazy bum to pronounced private investigator to real estate agent in this comedy of errors, and I liked the play on E.T. and Steven Spielberg that unveiled itself as this quirky story unfolds.

Initially, I didn’t really care for Lonnie—his girlfriend left him for all the right reasons: he’s a loser.  But as he attempts to bring his life back on track and win back the girl of his dreams, everything spins out of control and it’s so outrageous I couldn’t help but smile at his antics and, dare I say, stupidity on some occasions.  If you’re looking for a light read with awkward situations that will bring a smile to your face, this is it.  Three stars.

3 stars

I received an ebook of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

et cetera
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