The Post Office
A Picture of Dorian Gray
The Wasp Factory
Down and Out In Paris and London
I do this not to antagonise nor to plug the work of already famous authors; I have written the list only to show the type of book that I gravitate towards.
A Week with no Labels has little in common with these books and so without McStorytellers or McVoices I would never have read it. And I would have been the poorer for it.
Cally Phillips was the first person to review my book and so I hope you can appreciate that I feel a little under pressure as I write this. My reviewing technique is primitive in comparison to others on this site but I will try my very best to do the book justice.
Blenchod or Gan Lin Yan will more than likely mean nothing to most of us but say these words in the wrong country and to the wrong person and you are likely to cause serious offense or possibly even a fight. (Don't bother looking them up, just trust me they are offensive).
To the average person they are just words that have little or no meaning. Cally Phillips has much more eloquently opened our eyes to the power that language, generalisations or stereotypical labels can have on the person or persons to which they are directed.
No Labels is a theatre group but not your average theatre group. They are a group of very 'special' individuals who just want to put on a proper play, Shakespeare to be precise. The belief that they have in their own abilities inspire Kate, their facilitator and the narrator of the book, to write a play based on Hamlet (renamed Piglet) and perform this play to a paying audience. They want to preform a proper play so the world will see what they are capable of.
The group consists of ten very interesting and motivated individuals, each with their own idiosyncratic behaviour, each with their own agenda but all wanting to prove to the world that they are just as capable as everyone else.
Like all great stories it's the journey that Cally Phillips takes us on in A Week with no Labels and this talented group of actors that is far more important than the destination or the play, but their performance of Piglet is a piece of comedy and artistic gold.
Cally entices us and occasionally gives us a gentle prod to think about how we generalise people in our society who might be deemed 'disabled' or have 'learning difficulties' rather than simply seeing them as another individual in this world of 7 billion individuals.
There is no doubt that Cally is an accomplished writer who is skilled at building a wonderfully entertaining story around an infrastructure that is serious, thought provoking and of the zeitgeist.
Her work is so far removed from the books that I usually read that it has reinforced my desire to carry on reading the work of the McVoices rather than reading Irvine Welsh's latest book or rereading Factotum for the 10th time.
A Week with no Labels is an excellent piece of literature that crosses the boundaries of genre. It is educating without being patronising, it is funny without being cruel.
I would happily recommend this book to anyone who likes to finish a book feeling like they may be a better person or a better writer having read it.
I hope the review did the book justice.
A Week with no Labels is available on Amazon now.