God’s Lonely Men: Pete Haynes (Headhunter Books)
Lizzie Alderdice examines Pete Haynes’ God’s Lonely Men.
Reviewing God’s Lonely Men (Pete Haynes, 2007)Â was a challenge. The book itself was a bizarre combination of auto-biography and philosophy, and this at times made it very hard going. Haynes jumps between the two at will; going off on tangents from the main biographical story line, which leaves the reader struggling to keep up and sometimes wondering about the relevance of the philosophical rants to the main text.
The going was made even tougher by the fact that the book is written entirely in dialogue as Haynes literally speaks to the reader. The reason for the choice of narration style is obvious as Haynes repeatedly expresses his love of the Lurkersâ direct interaction with their fans, and it does indeed suit the subject matter of the book, and gives it a DIY, honest feel that is very relatable to. It feels like you are sitting in a pub with Haynes and he is telling you his story in a very personal way, which he explained was his original intent. But this dialogue style does unfortunately make it often frustrating as the conversation between Haynes and his reader is, obviously, completely one-sided and there are moments in the text where the reader wants to answer back to one of Haynes statements and actually debate it with him, which is impossible. It also means that spoken grammatical inaccuracies are included in the written text with such frequency I found it hard not to buy a red pen and start correcting them. On talking to Haynes about this over the phone, it does transpire he hadnât proof-read and re-drafted the text as many times as he wanted which only makes it more frustrating as itâs obvious as so much could have been improved through simple alterations during re-drafting.
Haynes himself is a very âbloke-you-met-down-the-pubâ style narrator and tells his stories in an understated yet ponderous way, as though seeing again for the first time the journey he has been through. However this understatement lets his narration down at times as he is often too brief when describing what are obviously fascinating people or events, he glances over in a sentence something that could be a whole and interesting paragraph in favour of his own philosophical musings.Â But there are also times where he hits the nail on the head and has the reader chuckling at his rants and descriptions of the truly bizarre situations he has found himself in over the years. The love and detail his narration shows, when he does get it spot on, prove just how much promise the book holds and itâs only sad that the whole thing isnât all at that standard as there are some real gems of description in there that had me giggling away.
The book has its faults and they canât be brushed lightly over, but if one can read past the roughness and the side-tracking, there are some brilliant insights into the world Haynes inhabited with the Lurkers on tour and at home, through the characters and situations they encountered. The most frustrating part of reviewing Godâs Lonely Men was not its flaws, but the fact of how obviously good it could have been with just a little more work!
For details of other books by Haynes, go to www.Petehaynes.co.uk
All words by Lizzie Alderdice (Snapping Turtle Press) Read more from Lizzie HERE