A quirky short story – just 80 pages or so – which starts off rooted in the earthy reality of football, adultery and jealousy but becomes increasingly bizarre as the narrative progresses. Leo and Trevor are twins. Separated shortly after birth, they were unaware of each other’s existence until a chance encounter leads to their reunion. Augustus relates in direct and dramatic style how that reunion affects their lives and ultimately comes full circle, accounting for manipulation and human weakness which led to their separation. This is gritty humanity written with emotion; its family dynamics interlaced with spirituality; it’s the south London immigrant community meets psycho. Patrick’s style is forthright, choppy, and very funny in places, which keeps the narrative moving along at a cracking pace.
In the end though, although I thoroughly enjoyed Don’t’ Make Me Laugh, I found it a little unsatisfying. I wanted to know more of the brothers, more of their mother who abandoned them, and more of their father and more of how the pain and betrayal that each has inflicted on the others affects their lives. But that is perhaps the point of ‘Quick Reads’.
Read and reviewed in 2006.
Postscript added August 2014
Sharing the joys of reading
Patrick Augustus’ Don’t Make Me Laugh was produced for the 2006 Quick Reads campaign. Quick Reads is a brilliant initiative, supported by the Reading Agency among others, which encourages and helps those not comfortable with reading to discover how pleasurable it can be and to build their confidence. One in 6 adults in the UK struggle to read and may never pick up a book. Half a dozen or so easy to read books are specifically commissioned from established authors each year and each costs just a £1. You can read more about this fantastic campaign on the Quick Reads website – who knows, perhaps you can become one of their reading champions!
© Jessica Mulley 2006, 2014