This book is the funniest book I've read in a long while. Though unrefined in most senses of the word, its too-long sentences and sarcastically ironic (or ironically sarcastic) tone of voice sent me clutching my belly, rolling, nearly choking, across the floor. And I do mean that, literally. I nearly had to call 1-1-2 (the Dutch equivalent of the US 9-1-1) to prevent me from dying of asthma-induced asphyxiation.

Mil Millington combines the astute observations of, um, an astute observer, with the wit of the late Douglas Adams. He combines the bitterness that a British bloke who lives together with a German woman must feel with a most proverbial verbosity. His sentences provide interesting twists and turns, keeping you on your toes while the next Genuinely Funny (And Usually Sarcastic) Joke is being built up.

I have no idea if anyone else enjoyed this book as much as I have. But I do know why I enjoyed it immensely.

You see, I am a teacher. Yes...I deserve your pity.

Being a teacher flings you headlong, most efficiently, into Sarcasm City. Unfortunately, as I teach children from 12 to 16, there is nowhere for the sarcasm to go.

"I think it's great that you have been so cooperative," uttered at the end of an hour where you just about had to pull the kids out of the curtains and keep the rabid froth from becoming visible at the corners of your mouth, invariably manages to create half a nanosecond of uncomprehendingly blank faces, after which things continue more or less in the way they had so far.

"I hope the handwriting on your final exams is this good," said while pointing out recent latently cross-Sumero-Egyptian hieroglyphs in an exercise book, makes the kid (invariably a boy, remarkably often wearing a Korn T-shirt and a dog collar) blush with joy.

Sarcasm, unfortunately for good old sarcastic me, has no place in secondary education, no matter its constantly reoccurring apparent relevance.

In Mil Millington I have discovered a kindred spirit. Although I am not one half of an Anglo-German relationship and have yet to learn what it's like to have two children (it's remarkable and not a little scary how close the book's leading character is to Mil himself), much of the book rings bells, jolts memories and stirs the gooey thick stuff among the cupboard-dwelling skeletons.

"Things My Girlfriend and I have Argued About" is so funny that it just about made people call the crazy train upon witnessing me reacting to it. This is the kind of book for the description of which it is permitted, nay, obligatory, to have the words "paroxysms" and "laughter" in the same sentence. The "Victoria" joke caused me to react in such a way that I nearly needed to be resuscitated.

Though the book becomes a little less piled high with the fun stuff nearer the bitter-sweet conclusion (the plot needs some space), this is an absolutely must-read for anyone who claims to have a sense of humour. Heck, maybe for the others as well.

Released 2002, ISBN 0-340-82115-9

Click here to buy or check out this book



Written November 2003


Back to the Main Menu