“Imagine writing down everything you remember.”
How ironic that the writer of that quote should do exactly that: Prose Home Movie is a hopelessly honest, presumably true documentation of two years of Peppy Ooze’s life. It’s an extremely brave write – not many people would have the guts to print some of the stories that he does and send them out into the world, free from shame or embarrassment. I think that’s a trait, as an author, to be congratulated for.
The autobiographical novel follows O, our main man, through two less-than-perfect years, with no censorship or filters. Seriously – this book is real-deal life in the blissful Elysian Fields of Manchester, on paper. It tells you everything, and if for some reason it doesn’t (most likely because Mr Ooze can’t quite remember what happened), it tells you that too. As the title suggests, it is as close to a transcript of a home movie as you’re probably ever going to find.
Because of its unusual format, the book takes a short while to ‘get going’ – meaning that for the first part, Peppy wakes up, he goes about his routine, he drools over Shakespeare, he goes back to sleep, and he repeats. This more or less continues for a length of the book, until plots thicken and develop into real, fiction-but-not-fiction stories. However, in some ways this added to the reader’s faith in the book and its integrity because it assured me that these events were factual: there were no bold exaggerations or mind-blowing plot twists to throw you off the factual path of the story.
I think one of the cleverest things about not only the book itself but the writing style in general was the way I became so quickly engrossed in the story, not particularly because I wanted to know what was going to happen next, but because the sheer, brute honesty of the narrator was so compelling. I liked the dry sense of humour and in particular the description of the ‘praying mantis kind of boy’ hanging around with his chav friends, because that kind of thing is so typical of England once you see past the dainty royal canvas we display to the rest of the world. I sincerely hope that people from other countries read this book, have a quick research session to find out what half the book means and then enjoy in with the new knowledge that they understand what the U.K is really like.
Reading more into the novel, including its description on Amazon, it struck me that Peppy Ooze is really just some guy who likes writing, and who decided to go out on a limb and write something, no matter what it is. And that, for me, adds to the appeal of the book – because it’s essentially a Polaroid of a couple of years in which a life was thrown about (no spoilers, don’t worry) and completely turned upside down.
Well, you know what they say: when life gives you lemons, get bitter and write a three hundred and fifty page book about your crappy life.