Simon Wan’s Love and a Dozen Roast Potatoes is an autobiography with a fresh take. Dates, names and places are unimportant; instead the author takes an acerbic yomp (or more of a techno-twitch) through the decades, luxuriating in the 90s and their deeply shallow proclivities.
It’s the story of a quest for true love in a wilderness of wannabes. In a landscape of chemically induced raving and hedonism, the author captures the zeitgeist perfectly (as least that’s how I remember it). The writing style is accomplished and rhythmic, in itself giving a nod to the dance music of the era – and certainly the mood and vernacular.
Brutally honest, Simon Wan toys with our emotions, making us laugh out loud one minute, before choking us with moments of pure pathos and utter disappointment the next.
The novel’s title references Simon Wan’s modest desire to take home the perfect woman for a family Christmas – to enjoy his mum’s flawless roast potatoes – with hilarious and sometimes baffling results. As the saying goes, you couldn’t make it up.
Nick Hornby fans will lap up this clever book.