I finally got around to reading How to be Dead, a novella by Dave Turner. Frankly, I don’t know why I waited so long, and now I want to read it again. But before I do, I would like to tell you a little about it. I don’t often write reviews and I’m not sure that is really what this is, I just felt the need to share this experience with you. And when I say ‘experience’, I don’t mean the act of reading the book. For me, the road to this novella has been long, but by no means arduous, quite the opposite in fact.
I first stumbled upon the humorous writing of Dave Turner on Twitter a few years ago, back when he used the name @ArmyOfDave. He also wrote a blog under the same, Army of Dave, title… Hang on, now I recall that maybe I discovered the blog first, then followed him on Twitter. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Dave’s tweets and blog posts were an endless source of amusement and one of the reasons I found Twitter so compelling during my early (late to the party) usage. It was when Dave created a secondary Twitter account that things got even more interesting. His new account carried the username, @Its_Death. Through this account, Dave tweeted jokes and observations of the human race from the point of view of the Grim Reaper. Some of those tweets have been written in to the book, reworked to give insight into Death’s unexpected personality and mood.
After a while, twitter’s 140 character limit just wasn’t enough to fulfil the potential of the comic persona that Dave Turner had created for a being usually feared rather than used as light hearted entertainment. At this point Dave took @Its_Death, with its 20,000+ followers, as his personal twitter account (changed to @MrDaveTurner) and began writing How to be Dead in its very own blog space.
The success of How to be Dead was clear to see, although I must admit I didn’t actually read it all at the time. I’m now pleased that I didn’t find enough time to keep up to date with it online, it made the book much more exciting to receive.
When Dave Turner announced on Twitter that he was starting a Kickstarter campaign in order to self publish How to be Dead, I don’t think he realised just how popular it would be. Within a truly staggering 58 minutes, it had exceeded the £400 required, and possibly even more amazing was the final total… £4043!
Shortly after we (the Kickstarter backers) had received our copy(s) of How to be Dead, it was then released on Amazon’s ‘Kindle’. Many reviews began to appear on Facebook, Twitter and Amazon. I noticed people claiming Dave Turner’s writing style and humour was similar to that of Douglas Adams, the acclaimed author of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Surely, I thought, these people are just being overly kind because they have been involved in financing the project.
So, I finally got around to reading it…
Once I had picked this book up (well, my Kindle) I honestly could not put it down. Luckily, How to be Dead is relatively short (as novellas are) so reading it in one sitting will not cause you to miss work. It might cause you to miss your train station/bus stop, so be careful. I almost never say this, but this book actually did make me laugh out loud in places, but perhaps more important, it kept a smile on my face from start to finish. I swear, my cheeks ached when I got to the end!
But really, does it feel like you are reading the work of Douglas Adams?.. Yes, yes it does. For me, Dave Turner’s style is also reminiscent of Rob Grant, not so much in the Red Dwarf novels, but if you enjoyed ‘Incompetence’ and ‘Colony’, you will love How to be Dead.
You can buy ‘How to be Dead’ for your Kindle HERE.
Visit Dave Turner’s ‘Aim for the Head’ site HERE.