December’s Book of the Month; Bad@Being Bad by Mark Barber

Bad At Being Bad

This book has three themes which could easily make it fall apart but it doesn’t. Its held together with tight prose and so many laughs that I giggled through most of the book! Workshy, laddish, lazy Steve is made to apply for a job at World Domination Ltd.   Haven’t you ever wondered how the loyal henchmen in the Bond films are recruited?  Now you’ll find out.  Steve is the typical non hero of what I’d called Stag lit but now know is Lad lit.  He bumbles his way through the whole plot, and just as he gets some power, he is fortunately thwarted.

The second thread is the actions of the World powers and their armed forces who are on to Dr.Won. How will Steve feature in their intervention? More incompetence or a Bondish ending with the girl?

What had me laughing out loud is the concept that a multi national, evil, terrorist, secret organisation needs not only Health and Safety, but needs to get Third party accredited for insurance.  I will not mention the laddish acronym, but this puts SMERSH and SPECTRE to shame.  The main baddy Dr Won Doin is as crazy as any in a Bond movie but he doesn’t have a cat…….The main part of the plot revolves  around the now loyal henchmen Steve being so inept that he gets sent as a secretary to the H&S Inspector., which is hugely funny (imagine a group of baddies having to do team building games?) until someone gets topped in an appraisal. It then all gets a bit darker and violent.

What I also found most amusing are the observations made by the narrative voice, the third thread.  It steps in with sharp, humorous, cynical comments about people, England and life, one of may favourites is the carpet in the pub;

‘Steve’s mind begins to wander, and he finds himself thinking that if the carpet wasn’t pinned down, it would probably get up and walk out the door, only to be found weeks later outside the tube station with a can of Tennants Super, singing, ‘Show me the way to go home’, while swearing incoherently at passers by’

The comments are so well observed, they could be a book in themselves. Surprisingly he refrains from direct comment about the World powers involved.

As Lad lit, this has laddishness (see chapter 36), an incompetent hero, a bond baddie, loyal henchmen, and real Bondish tekky helicopter/gun/blowing up of stuff.  Loads of humour, well written, its great and should be cashing in on the James Bond 50 years anniversary!

It was great to be sent this book to review.


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