“ Hardcover: 192 pages / Publisher: Lagoon Books / Reprint: Feb 2005 Author: Jane Purcell / Editors: Lucy Dear, Nicki Mellows / Illustrator: Gary Sherwood „
Look up the word "pointless" in the dictionary and its entirely possible you might find a picture of this book. Well, no that's not strictly true. But if dictionary writers ever decide to do a pictorial update, it would be an option.
100 Really Annoying Things about Work is a book of cartoons featuring (you guessed it) cartoons about frustrating aspects of working life, whether it's bosses, co-workers or computers causing the annoyance. Sadly, out of those carefully selected 100, only a tiny handful of them are actually funny.
The book doesn't get off to a great start. Designing book cover art is a very underrated skill, but crucial to a books success. It's usually the first thing you see and can make or break whether you even bother to pick it up, let alone look inside and buy it. Clearly the designer for this book was away from Art School the day they covered that particular skill because the cover for this is rubbish. Look at it in the picture at the top of this page. It's mostly black with the book's title badly scrawled across it. It's boring, unappealing and almost puts you off even before you've opened the cover
Mind you, perhaps that's the whole point? Like fish or insects that use bright colours to warn off potential predators, perhaps the dull cover is meant to put you off reading it.
Because sadly, like the cover, this book is really boring. Most of the 100 entries are dull, unoriginal and about as funny as having a banana shoved into any orifice in which a banana does not belong. If I were being mean (which, let's be honest, I am) I would say that the jokes are so weak that not even the worst greetings card company would consider using them. Yes, there are a couple that will make you nod wisely because similar things have happened to you, but the chances are when it happened to you it was funnier.
100 Annoying Things... can't seem to decide what it's aiming for. Some of the entries want to be outright funny; others are musings on the frustrations of the modern workplace or the idiosyncrasies of people... and very few of them are funny. I would estimate that out of the entire book, I probably smiled once. Not laughed, mind; just smiled. And even that might just have been wind brought on by too many bananas.
Each "hilarious" entry is accompanied by an equally "hilarious" cartoon. Which apparently were drawn by someone whose arms were tied behind their back , possibly for their own safety. The simple cartoon drawings are line drawings in black (adding to the overall dullness of the book) and downright awful. They are a confusing mess of lines and, frankly, the scribbling of a passing 5 year old would look better. I appreciate that they are meant to be cartoons-like but "cartoon" is not a synonym for rubbish. Put it this way, if Walt Disney's artists had drawn like this, he would have given up and gone back to bed long before Snow White ever became a reality.
100 Things is a waste of paper. And I don't mean that flippantly in the sense of "it's rubbish" I mean it uses far more paper than it needs to. Most of the entries take up two pages, which is completely unnecessary. The right hand page has the pathetic attempt at humour and the awful cartoon, the left hand page (wait for it...) has a great big number showing you which entry you are up to. Presumably, this is so that when you get to the end of the book, you can confirm that, yes, there really were 100 Things and the sneaky authors didn't short change you by only including 98 or something. In other words, if they'd not bothered with the numbers or integrated these into the text, the book would have been half the size it is and used half as much paper.
The book has a retail price of 4.99 which is a little ambitious for something that will take about 10 minutes to read. Mercifully, last time I looked on Amazon, the title was out of stock. If you are particularly masochistic, you could purchase a second hand copy for around £3, but I wouldn't really advise it.
100 really annoying things about work
Lagoon Books, 2005
(c) Copyright SWSt 2012