Saturday, December 19

Yes Man - Danny Wallace

When we last left Danny Wallace he had inadvertently founded a cult, and in the process lost his long-term girlfriend, Hanne. Catching up on three years of adulthood, Danny began doing grown up things, like shopping at Ikea, and in the process discovered he quite liked staying at home. So much so that he almost never went out, creating excuses for almost every social invitation. But one evening, coming home from work on a bus, Danny fell into conversation with a teacher from Aldgate, and with three simple words this nameless stranger changed Danny's life - "say Yes more." With that, Danny overhauled his attitude and life - he vowed that, whatever the opportunity, if asked he would say "yes." After buying his mate Ian several rounds, Danny then had to add a caveat, that this only applied to people who didn't know about his new life philosophy.
Along the way he pisses off a Very Serious man at a party, acquires a nemesis who sends him off on expensive and pointless adventures, reconnects with old friends, responds to spam, and rekindles a promising Antipodean relationship.
Wallace has two gifts - first, he is inspired to enact change where most wouldn't even notice the opportunity, and fearlessly carries these plans through to the bitter end, and second he is able to discuss the process with honesty, integrity and humour. Engagingly written, The Yes Man has moments of genuine hilarity - I particularly liked the two major interactions with ex-girlfriend Hanne - and deft humorous touches throughout. The mystery of the nemesis combines with Wallace's journey, and the romance threaded through is a bonus. I do hope he comes up with another stupid boy project, because they're such fun to read about, and on the way inspire me to make (far smaller) changes in my own life. - Alex

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