Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
The A-Z of Being Single: Jeff Green, February 14—16, 2014
My rating: ♦♦◊◊◊
A suitably ironic choice for Valentine’s evening, The A-Z of Being Single purports to be the go-to guide for singletons, unhappily coupled up and those in a satisfying relationship. Green rattles through everything from how to flirt to time to split in alphabetical order with his tongue firmly in his cheek.
The first issue with this book is its title. I would have expected The A-Z of Being Single to be something of a survival guide to singledom and although there are a few suggestions (if you pay the single person supplement, set your alarm so you can move over and use both sides of the bed), the majority of the advice is centred around dating and relationships – the exact opposite of what the title suggests.
Green does present a witty repartee and is able to illicit more that the odd chuckle but, title aside, there are three huge problems.
First, Green races through every section at a crazy pace. The whole thing feels like it was knocked up in an afternoon and there is no time to just enjoy the piece for what it is. I would have liked to see Green adopt a Peter Corey approach in making a Coping With… Being Single of sorts. Copey’s Coping With… Exams & Tests is the perfect example of an A-Z that lovingly and funnily explores each entry with the paced respect they deserve.
Second, there’s a lot of repetition. A lot of the jokes are centred around the usual stereotypes – men just need sex, beer and food while women are high maintenance, overly complicated experts in nagging – and that of course the communis opinion starting point for such a piece. The problem is, there is no second layer of humour or further developments, so we have essentially the same jokes over and over again under a different guise.
Third, it’s very repetitive.
The concept of this book has a lot of potential, and Green can be genuinely funny. He should have taken more time over this one. What we have feels like more of a rough outline of notes for the book, or a working draft, rather than a finished product and is quite disappointing.