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Against the advice of family and friends, Craig leaves his regular 9-5 day job and after work social life to become an unemployed, homeless man, living in a park in London.
Craig writes, "It can be a struggle sometimes balancing doing what you want to do with doing what everyone else wants you to do; especially when nobody really understands what you are trying to do including yourself."
My favorite parts of the book are the serious, thought provoking parts, where Craig expresses his innermost feelings about what he is doing in the park, and I get to peek inside his brain. I enjoyed gaining insight to the man who turned his life upside down for ten days. At times I found myself thinking he was crazy, other times I felt he was brave and courageous.
This crazy, fun, read is more than entertaining as Craig's imagination goes wild creating characters from the people he meets in the park. His writing skills are overloaded with metaphors and similes that I read over more than once, even jotting some down. One of my favorite similes: "If I am worried and thinking about my bags all day then no matter where I am I have not put them down; like a CEO going on holiday with his work blackberry."
Share Craig's ten days in the park by reading The Squirrel That Dreamt Of Madness. It will remind you of forgotten morals while at the same time entertain you with a very crazy, fun, story!
Book Review by Mary Crocco
That said, this is one of those books that would probably be ruined by the wrong editor. It is a trippy little bit of stream of consciousness that is very entertaining. I equate reading this to sitting under a tree on a perfect afternoon, dozing off while listening to someone tell you their story. Your mind twists what they are saying into a dreamy slush. Yet, you are still able to follow the path. I look forward to reading more of this author as he grows and matures; see how life dents his resolve.
I loved loved loved The Squirell That Dreamt of Madness. I think it's author, Craig Stone, should donate his mind to science. He has such a unique, hilarious and perceptive way of looking at the world and it's inhabitants.
The book is incredibly funny and is interlaced with fantasy, reality and stunning incite! It was almost disturbing to be able to relate so well to such insanity. I actually found myself laughing out loud so often that I think
I lost weight. I highly recommend this surprisingly delight-filled book but I warn you to buckle
yourself in because it's a wild and crazy ride.
The story is about Colossus Sosloss - named so by his father because he believes that names define character, and so a Jerome will always be a Jerome, whereas a Colossus will... - a man who chooses to quit his job and his conformist life to live in a park. Where he makes an enemy of the park attendant, befriends a masturbating lost soul, and gets accused of murdering and mutilating park animals. Fun.
The comedy name almost put me off, and the first few pages took some getting used to the masses of description - I'll admit I almost gave up on it right there.
I'm extremely glad I didn't. The premise of leaving your dull life behind is something everyone can identify with, but leaving it to live in a park may not elicit enough empathy. Why not bugger off to an Australian beach (I know, I know - visas), or tramp around European glories with your EU passport? To quit everything and simply live in a park seems absurd. Except Stone makes the park feel like paradise when compared to his work environment where his co-workers
"sit nodding into their screens like drinking birds, perpetual motion machines; biscuits in hand, crumbs falling into their coffee; slurping and silently farting themselves through the morning".
Who wouldn't want to live in a park with an office environment like that?
Colossus finds his dreams are not realised in his new life. He may have escaped his machine-like existence, but the loneliness of homelessness soon hits him when people's eyes increasingly avert from him as his beard grows more and more unwieldy. Stone highlights the human condition beautifully as Colossus' dream becomes nightmarish. Sleeping free under trees is no fun when lunatics roam the park watching you in your sleep, and the park attendant's mission is to see you arrested for mutilating "his" animals. And you are never really free - Colossus remains attached to private possessions in his supposed freedom as he did when chained to the rat race - his sleeping bag for example: each day throwing up challenges in hiding it.
The plot is a good enough reason to read the book, but the real fun is in the fantastic imagery and asides Stone peppers throughout, with almost every one hitting the humour or surprise spot. Like this one, where another homeless person gets too close for comfort:
"He mutters a conglomerate of inebriated obscenities at me but they are laden with so much alcohol the words are heavy and fall from his mouth to the floor, dying from liver failure before they have any chance of reaching my ears".
Genius. I love the follow through: "One of his words did not die and it lays isolated in the concrete path uncontrollably shaking". The book is full of these gems.
There were times when I wondered where the story might head, seeming a little aimless. Colossus, we vaguely learn, is living in the park for writing inspiration, but books about writers rarely grab. However, it takes a dramatic turn late on with the authorities' concern about someone going missing, giving the story an urgent kick for plot fanatics, and ending in farce and real fear, showing that Colossus really does grow on you.
I first heard of Craig Stone in an interview at Indie Author News and I wanted him to make it big from that point on. In real life he really did leave his job to live in a park under a tree, and stayed there until he wrote this book. The man is clearly bonkers, but if it produces stuff like The Squirrel that Dreamt of Madness, then more authors need to do it.
Overall, I recommend the book for those who like a fresh twist on looking at the everyday. Plot fiends will find plenty to enjoy too. But "humour" does not do it justice. What about a new section called "If you want to have a proper belly laugh, Amazon recommends..."?
Most recent customer reviews
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?
This books is going to answer this question – at least partially.Read more