A friend of mine was always banging on about Tim Clare, so when he did a poetry-gig-type-thing in a local pub I got dragged along. Turns out, my friend and Kitchen Manager, Alex (I would link to his twitter but he already has a stupid amount of followers…oh OK I’m not that mean, here) was right to. So, when I was rooting around the library in search of good, contemporary novels to learn from and discovered his shiny chestnut of a book, I decided to learn from someone else’s life-mistakes instead and be entertained at the same time.
I want to say: ‘I was not disappointed’ – it flows well, don’t you think? The trouble is, it doesn’t quite ring true. Now, that’s not to say I didn’t like the book, in fact, I loved it. It made me chuckle, a lot. It also made me see myself in a rather cringe-forcing way. However, on deep reflection I don’t think I can say I learned from it, not anything as life-changing as I had hoped, anyway. OK, so I learned that in some ways I have a lot on common with Tim Clare and the things I do have in common with him aren’t good but that’s not what I wanted to learn. You see, the majority of the book is about his failures and desperate attempts at literary success but the thought I couldn’t leave behind was ‘I’m reading his book; therefore, he did it. How?’ That’s the question I really wanted an answer to: how had he done it? To be honest, his lack of response to the question left me feeling let down, almost as let down as I felt when Nick Clegg teamed up with the Conservatives. Now, perhaps it was wrong of me to assume that he would answer that question and therefore help out a fellow struggling writer but being reminded of my failures and desperation to achieve literary success throughout the book, combined with mentions of wanting to help poor, aspiring authors, like himself, later on, did kind of make me expect it. Perhaps the answer is too simple to put in: he just wrote something good, got an agent on board and was accepted by a publisher. Still, I can’t help feeling cheated that he left that out. Perhaps he felt it would defeat the point or undermine the message of the book. I would disagree, but seeing as it’s highly unlikely that Tim, himself, will read this, there’s not much point stating why.
So, is We Can’t All be Astronaut’s by Tim Clare a good book? Yes. It’s funny, worryingly relate-to-able and his message is an important one, one which might help other aspiring authors (it’s just, it wasn’t one I, myself, needed to learn but you can’t blame Tim for that.) Would I recommend it? Yes. In fact, I think you should buy it and read it for yourselves, so, here’s a link:
My advice: read it, enjoy it but don’t expect to find the holy grail.