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My Friend Jack

Some Place Else ... Started

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My copy arrived at the end of last week, and I made a start yesterday on the Gatwick Express. Travel books are not my usual thing, but that's the great thing about BGO - in the last 7 months I have read a number of books that I wouldn't normally have bothered with, but BGO has persuaded me to deviate from my normal diet of Stephen King / sc-fi / fantasy / music reference books!

I'm about 60 pages in, and thoroughly enjoying the story. Slightly confused about Alan's relationship with B and the occasional reference to illness and divorce, but I've decided to ignore those and enjoy the story, taking each page as it comes. I'm sure all will become clear.

My only gripe is with the proof-readers - or maybe there weren't any. As I mentioned on another thread, incorrect use of its / it's / its really gets on my tits - and there have been quite a few! Not blaming the author, though! ;-)

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My only gripe is with the proof-readers - or maybe there weren't any. As I mentioned on another thread, incorrect use of its / it's / its really gets on my tits - and there have been quite a few! Not blaming the author, though! ;-)


I have to agree. It is so distracting when you are reading along and some typo (I'm supposing) throws you off. So far the best one was them 'lying prostate on the beach'. Now the author, being male, could, I suppose, manage this, but it is anatomically impossible for B, as a female! :P


I, too, am only about 60 pages in and just getting to Australia, so will persevere and comment again later.

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I'm about 50 pages from the end. I wouldn't have got this far if it wasn't a good read - and I am enjoying it (honest!) - but there is a difference between "passed" and "past" for goodness' sake.


Now I feel like a nit-picking old fusspot ingrate! But there's no point in emplying a prrof-reader (and thanking him in the credits) if he's going to overlook so many basic errors.

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Have enjoyed this book after a struggle with some of its more oblique qualities. Especially liked the sections on Australia.


The references to divorce and the relationship with B and the illnesses, especially at the beginning, I found obscure and too complicated to fathom. I almost felt they belonged in another book. They reminded me of some 50s writing by authors like Miller and Durrell and I wondered why Alan Harris chose to write about them in this form. Alan - would love to hear your views on this.

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The first point must be to apologise for any errors in spelling/grammar etc. I share your frustrations and I must accept that I am at least partly to blame. The very last thing that I would want is for the reader to be distracted and to lose faith because of this. As the author, I suspect that on my part this is more a failure to see the wood for the trees, rather than a failure to understand the English language. When you have been through a text so many times and a text which you have written, it is difficult to assess it objectively. As for the publishers and their proof-reader, I cannot speak. I suspect that this is a reflection on them being a smaller publisher and of having a more limited budget. It may simply be a lack of attention to detail or of professionalism. Either way, I am sorry. Really. (Incidentally, the person who is credited at the front of the book is a family member who was at least prepared to put his head above the parapet and to have a go at double-checking the text for me. He is not a trained proof-reader and I was grateful to him in any event).


BrumB - I can see your point with regard to the introduction. The reason it is there is because I didn't want the book to be a straightforward 'what we did on our holidays' type travelogue. I hoped that it would find a connection with many people who find themselves in a similar situation, i.e. desperate to get away from it all, but not really knowing what to do. I wanted to convey that feeling of restlessness, of feeling like I should be some place else. I accept that the references to divorce, death, B, etc are oblique, which may not have worked for some readers. However, this was a deliberate decision on my part to try and avoid explicit references to having an affair, leaving my ex-wife and running away. Also, the name of the B's grandfather who died would be known to you and to everyone else on this website. I did not feel that it was my place to discuss the private grief of another's family in anything other than a passing reference. Given that I am an unkown first time author, I took the view that no-one would be in the slightest bit interested in the lowly details of 'my life' and I was very conscious of keeping away from being 'autobiographical'. Apart from anything else, there are always two sides to every story and it was only one of us who was choosing to write it down and to try and get it published!!! I felt it fairer therefore to wash my dirty laundry in private. However, as a 30-something, professional person, who was in a bit of a mess with his life, who had not travelled the world before and who had finally secured the one woman he had always wanted to be with, it seemed to me that there might at least be some common themes with which readers might find a connection, however tenuous.


Failing all of that, I just wanted to avoid beginning with the line 'first of all we went to Jakarta, which was really quite muggy and then we went to....' etc etc.


Thank you for perservering though, despite the annoyances of the text.

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Oh, God, I knew I shouldn't have mentioned the typos! I feel really guilty now. :(


Thanks for the reply, Alan. I do most of my reading on the Gatwick Express, but I won't be using it for a day or two, so I probably won't finish SPE until the end of the week. One question I have to ask (regular readers of BGO won't be surprised at this) is - what was the name of the band that you were in?

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My Friend Jack - no apologies needed and how good for you to have a few days away from the joys of public transport! I hope that you come back to SPE fully refreshed.


BrumB - and now I know what you readers are really interested in...ok, the band was called The Ludicrous Lollipops (or The Lollies for short). I shall say no more. Anyone with any knowledge or recollection of or interest in the band should think very carefully before they reply. Like all of the 'I used to be in a band' type people out there (and there are a lot of us), I am prone to going on about it quite a bit given half the chance. You have been warned.

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