Book #71

Yes Man by Danny Wallace

Danny Wallace had been staying in. Far too much. Having been dumped by his girlfriend, he really wasn't doing the young, free and single thing very well. Instead he was avoiding people. Texting them instead of calling them. Calling them instead of meeting them. That is until one fateful date when a mystery man on a late-night bus told him to 'say yes more'. These three simple words changed Danny's life forever. Yes Man is the story of what happened when Danny decided to say YES to everything, in order to make his life more interesting. And boy, did it get more interesting.

Usually when I finish a book, I have one overarching feeling which can be summed up in one word. It’s never the same word, but I can always find one to describe how I feel. My word for Yes Man is stunned. I am stunned so many of my friends laud this book for its hilarity. I am stunned it has such popularity. Most of all, I am stunned I made it to the end.

I think most of us are familiar with the Yes Man concept, thanks to Jim Carrey. Man stops saying no, and starts saying yes, making way for a bounty of opportunity and experience. It’s an excellent premise with an excellent message - open yourself up, try new things, and a brave new world will open its arms to you.

My main problem here was that Wallace was saying yes to the most ridiculous and idiotic things imaginable. Scam emails from sons of sultans asking for bank account details - yes. Application forms for (multiple) brand new credit cards - yes. Marketing emails trying to sell penis enhancers - yes. A guy asking if you want punched in the face - yes. Your ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend politely asking if you want to join them on their date, without expecting you to say yes - you say yes. And so it drags on.

Wallace’s voice was another factor in my limited enjoyment. He tries very hard to be funny without quite managing to do so, and I found myself wondering if this was the type of humour we all enjoyed fifteen years ago. He came across as mildly irking, a teensy bit obnoxious, and with a maddening desire to turn his journey of self-discovery into a slapstick sensation. It’s very difficult to believe this is entirely non-fiction; if there are absolutely no exaggeration or embellishments here, then Wallace is a witless fool.

Saying yes remains an important part of a diverse and furnished life, yet through Yes Man, all I seem to have learned is the power of sense coupled with the power of no.