❉ The debut novel from World Of Crap’s Jenny Morrill is beautifully ranty and viciously funny.
Crap Holiday is the first book by Jenny Morrill, the force behind the gloriously bonkers World Of Crap, a sort-of nostalgia blog, on which she reviews varied items such as old TV spin-off merchandise, someone’s diary from 1981 that turned up at a car boot sale, her collection of novelty mugs, and lots of episodes of Rainbow. Anyone familiar with the site will immediately recognise her writing style in this book, as it employs the same acerbic and viciously funny approach.
The premise of Crap Holiday is the meandering existence of Melissa, a perpetually disgruntled Co-op checkout operator who spends her whole life surrounded by people she dislikes in situations she wishes she could avoid, and yet seems powerless to escape either the people or the situations. The central bane of her life is her housemate Joanne, an unrepentant hippy and practitioner of Rage Yoga and “talking a lot of crap about vibrations” for money, who displays a wide range of phenomenally irritating personality traits, including a tendency to pressgang unwilling housemates into spending a weekend camping at a folk/new-age spirituality festival.
Mel (a confirmed indoor person) is understandably reluctant to attend this event, particularly as Joanne’s main intent in going is to meet up with Fax, a terrible poet and serial bullshitter she met on a conspiracy website, in order to decide if she loves him or not. We follow Mel’s increasingly dissolute day-to-day life in the run-up to the holiday, the event itself and the fallout thereafter, bedevilled by an ever-expanding army of vaguely terrible people (it’s interesting to note that every single character in the book, Mel included, is pretty appalling in a specialised sort of way), armed only with her faithful Daniel O’Donnell mug and a copious supply of vodka.
The real strength of the book lays not in the narrative of the holiday and its ramifications, but in the descriptions of Mel’s collisions with the world and the infuriating people in it. The Slimming World meetings, the catastrophic trip to her cousin’s wedding, her utter bafflement at the denizens and diversions of the festival, her bemusement at the pitfalls and intricacies of social interaction, the constant bickering with her friend/nemesis Joanne, are all rendered in hilariously savage detail and a quite spectacular level of profanity. The book as a whole comes across somewhat like a modern and more down-to-Earth Withnail And I. It’s downbeat, cynical, beautifully ranty, and absolutely excellent.
❉ ‘Crap Holiday’ by Jenny Morrill is available now in paperback and Kindle from Amazon.
❉ Lee Terry is a regular We Are Cult contributor and a member of The Kingcrows, Leeds’ scuzziest sleaze-punk-n-roll maniacs!