Monday, 1 July 2013

Dear Jim... a review of Warm Auditorium

James Brown, crocheter of words

This review just in for James Brown's Warm Auditorium. Review by Pania Brown. Kindly reprinted with permission of the Browns.

Dear Jim

Thank you so much for a copy of the book. I especially like that I am in it, as I feel a lot of your readers will be able to relate to the part of the sister (being siblings themselves) and I think I come across as calm and resourceful, a good sort in a crisis. I need to correct you on a small historical point however, and if you need to do a book recall, I understand. The fire was started by the candle/Christmas decoration I made catching fire to its plastic meat dish base, and then catching fire to the Christmas cards strung over head on strings. You may think it doesn't matter because your readers won't know because they weren't there and you would only know if you were there, which your reader's weren't, but there you go. I was there and it ruined the whole thing for me. However, don't feel too stink; it is still a good poem even though the facts are 100% completely wrong.

I am confused by the title. If Warm Auditorium is the name of the book, where is the poem called ‘Warm Auditorium’, the title track to the album as it were? The first single off the album? Sergeant Pepper's has one, so does What's The Story Morning Glory? Where is ‘Warm Auditorium’ the poem? Maybe I missed the reference somewhere.
When I first got your book I put aside undie hanging up for a while, and sat down and read it from cover to cover. Well, that's not entirely true, I read it until I lost focus and started dreaming of flying horses called Sparkle Pony, and then when I woke up (not that much later on), I read the rest, and I've got to say it certainly held my attention! Your words make my words look dumb. When I read it I felt like I may as well give up speech and use Sign Language for the rest of my life because you Sir, knit quite the crocheted cardigan with your imagery and fan dangled words! You are getting very good with words. In short, you are a Word Wizard! Speaking of Wizards, if you remember my critique on your last book, I said to include more sword fights because it would sell more books. Well, I take all that back; the cover alone with its warm, cosy, peach hues and inviting nudity (her knees look like big boobs! Lol!) will more than do that for you!
You are right, Tod is a ‘squashed’ name just like ‘Claire’ is a fat girl's name and ‘Tim’ is a tall thin man's name. Tod (pg 40) is right, your poems are too long. I like ‘Anna's Nightmare Solution’ and ‘Conversation's with Anna (Aged 4)’ (pg 41) – just the right length, humorous, vague and strangely educational, and if they were all that length I would definitely ask for another free copy the next time you write some more! Plus loads of parents out there will go ‘awwwwh!’

Actually one of my favourites is ‘What the Very Old Man Told Me’ (why doesn't the ‘the’ have a capital???) pg 20, although you are assuming everyone has read Lord of the Flies, which sort of alienates a lot of your readers and makes them feel left out, doesn't it? If you put ‘Edward and Jacob from Twilight were his favourite characters’ instead I bet heaps of teenagers would ‘thumbs up’ you if you were on Face Book. The old man is bloody right about the dogs though ... stupid dogs. And I like walking too, so could really relate to that bit at the end when he says that he liked walking. Fast forward to pg 37 – I don't like The Fall either (who does???), so good on you for not liking them, although you should have added another line ‘and I HATE Justin Bieber and One Direction too’, but the slight rhyming might not have worked as well.

Speaking of rhymes, I'm struggling to find enough of them. Write more ‘I’m’ poems (pg 29) and then you'll be able to reach the limerick audience too, broaden your fan base – we're out here you know, we just like it to make sense and, well, rhyme more. And another thing, which of course you've probably already kicked yourself for not noticing, your fingers are ashamed if they're stars because they aren't fingers see? Stars and fingers aren't the same thing even in poetry land – surely you can see that, even if things aren't getting better?
Anyway, that's all the advice I can offer for now. Let me know if you need any more help with writing the next instalment ... and on that note, that's, what, four books now? I'm really struggling to follow the plot. J.K. Rowling's much easier to follow, I mean, who's your Voldemort? Is it Ezekiel, he doesn't seem very nice!
PS If you need a stalker let me know. I'd be good at it.
Your No. 1 Fan
P Brown

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