London musician and author Jim Bob is best known for being a singer with Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine, with whom he released fourteen top forty singles and seven albums, four of which appeared in the top ten of the UK album charts and one that reached number one.
And I LOVED him back then (and told him so when I met him at the HarperCollins Summer Party a few days ago). And ‘Driving Jarvis Ham’ is his second novel.
The fact is that as my reading-for-me-time has been reduced, I find that I have less tolerance. If I’m not enjoying a book I’ll happily stop and move on to the next. So, if I’d hated this novel, I’d have kept quiet, sobbed a little bit and then chosen another from my towering to-be-read pile. BUT I devoured ‘Driving Jarvis Ham’ in a weekend, that says everything:
“Meet Jarvis Ham: tea-room assistant, diarist, lift-cadger, Princess Di fan, secret alcoholic, and relentless seeker of fame. Jarvis may be an all-round irritant, but he’s harmless, and deep down, you know, he’s got a heart of gold. Hasn’t he?
As his oldest (and only) friend reflects on his life with Jarvis Ham – infatuations, questionable hairstyles, home-made charity singles, reality TV auditions, paedophile alerts at the local swimming baths – he wonders what it would have been like if they had never met. But what are you going to do? He’s a mate.
‘Driving Jarvis Ham’ is a novel for anyone who has ever found themself looking across at a childhood friend, and wondering why they still know them.”
Quirky (in format, fonts and content), truly funny with a dash of uncomfortable thrown in, this novel begins with the very perfect line, ‘Would you drink a pint of your own piss?’. And from that moment ‘Driving Jarvis Ham’ offers a tribute to childhood friendship, with a ‘healthy’ obsession with Princess Diana and a talentless wannabe thrown in. The narrative is absolutely and genuinely funny, with a darkness that is both engaging and refreshing.
I highly and absolutely recommend this novel to you. I have a strong feeling this will be in my top 5 books of this year.
And, dear blog friends, I’ve a copy of ‘Driving Jarvis Ham’ to give away. Simply leave a ‘please pick me’ comment by 3 pm (GMT) July 13, then I’ll pop all names in a mug and ask a small child to select a winner. This competition is open to all.