Book #41

Fat Jimmy and the Blind Ballerina by Eddie Owens

This is the story of one young man’s desire for comedy fame: a tale of ambition and humiliation on the way to the top.
Fat Jimmy is a cynical, young comedian and writer, who desperately wants to make it to the big time. He wants it all and he wants it now.
Fat Jimmy loves women; he loves booze and he loves comedy. He is sweary and controversial, but always funny and always memorable.

A huge thank you to Eddie Owens for asking me to review this; it was right up my street.

Fat Jimmy is a stand-up comedian looking to break into showbusiness. He’s a crude arsehole of a man, with no shame, no filter, and no self-deprecation. If I met Fat Jimmy somewhere, he would be a victim of my famous death stare, but Owens allowed me to like him.

Jimmy’s journey through the labyrinth of showbiz is fuelled solely by his grit and determination. He stays true to his morals, never sucking up anyone’s arse, and making sure to bring people down a peg or two when they’re due it. He’s relentless, mortifying, hellbent on success, and so flawed. And a flawed character, as we know, is a great character.

My favourite parts of the novel were the small snapshots of Jimmy’s childhood, and the stories of his family. How his mum and dad met, the differing characters of his brothers and sisters, the fights they go into were all so real. I loved it.

There were a lot of sub-plots here, and I must admit I enjoyed these more than the main story. Many of these weren’t resolved entirely to my satisfaction, and I would’ve liked more than I got. But maybe that’s just real life.

I really enjoyed the metaphor of the blind ballerina - someone who makes it despite the obstacles life has thrown at her - but I would have liked this to be a bit more rounded. The ballerina was only referred to fleetingly, a few times, and I felt this could have been crafted into something bigger. For such a clever and impressive analogy to have so little exposure disappointed me.

A great wee story on fighting for your dreams, and being the person you really are. Even if the person you really are is a big-mouthed sycophant.