Because I Don't Know What You Mean and What You Don't

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Because I Don't Know What You Mean and What You Don't

Because I Don't Know What You Mean and What You Don't

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It's hard to pick a favourite - 'We decided to leave London', which is about life during lockdown and 'Poets Rise', which explores authoritarian surveillance, both really stood out for me.

The characters are deep, interesting and flawed - and they, or the people around them, are often problematic in their own ways, but SO intriguing to read about! And later I would carry around this black ring binder full of my stories, like someone might think ‘oh, this 12-year-old has got things to say, oh great she’s got it with her’, but I never finished them. The walls were made of paper and in the story someone makes the mistake of trying to put up shelves and discovering ‘this is just plasterboard, this is not a wall’ and I did do that. The pandemic seems to have turned half of Britain’s best-known comedians towards literature, and after Osman, Boyle et al we now have a debut collection, Because I Don’t Know What You Mean And What You Don’t, from the woefully underexposed Josie Long.It worked in my favour a bit to have people think I was unusual and not just neurodivergent,” she says, “and it was nice for me to feel that, too. So getting the diagnosis was incredibly helpful because it was like ‘oh this isn’t me just being lazy or crap or inept, this is something my brain is doing that I can circumvent and learn to manage or even just acknowledge and move on from’.

Or you're the thinks-herself-chubby-and-ugly girl wanting to get in with the cool-but-very-flawed crowd at school, or you're suffering because a guy at a party can't keep it in your trousers, or someone from your past moves in to the neighbourhood, with his current and you have a hard time over you being his ex still, or someone from your past ends up on a nearby billboard you see daily. I have a strong memory of writing a story about a cat that used to sneak out at night and sing cabaret but it never finished.Also, this is not an uplifting book - some of the themes are a little dark, and many of the stories deal with insecurity at some level. The Raymond Carver-like title of the collection gives us a sense of the key problem that many of these characters face, one of communication.

It was weird because I did it to myself but I think it must have been something I needed to do so that was a really interesting experience. There is an overarching theme of female anxiety, especially felt in the story where the young woman meets up with her ex-boyfriend, but I didn’t relate to the majority of the characters. I am hardly a puritan when it comes to the use of blue language, especially the f-bomb, but Josie overdoes it here. Some of the sheer random whimsy may have been edited out of her work over the years, but what hasn’t gone is Long’s essential warmth, heart, and earnestness.

There are issues of identity, and memories, including a boy's troubled relationship with his father, a forgotten memory surfaces of his abusive father from when he was a toddler.

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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