Saturday, September 24, 2005

Time for Bed by David Baddiel

Author: David Baddiel
ISBN # 0349117462
256 pages

Gabriel Jacoby has problems: His flat-mate is going crazy, he's in love With his brother's wife, he's having trouble hitting the deadlines for his sports column & to top it off, he just can't get any sleep. What's a guy to do?

David Baddiel (half of the Newman & Baddiel comedy duo & a quarter of The Mary Whitehouse Experience) really comes into his own with this, his debut novel. Large parts of it are obviously based on his true-life Experiences with his then flat-mate, Frank Skinner (who now partners him on Baddiel & Skinner, Unplanned) & the air of honesty lends itself well to the fictional elements with which it has been seamlessly interwoven.

The focus is entirely on Gabriel Jacoby & his skewed view of the world As he battles with insomnia & his unrequited love for his sister-in-law, Alice - until he remembers that she has a sister! As he struggles even to stay awake, how can he deal with the roller-coaster of emotions & with the fact that his best friend is clearly going gaga after a bender involving some mind-bending drugs & an encounter with the highly unusual Fran, who brings everyone together in a cataclysmic fashion.

Time for Bed also explores the importance of heritage within a Jewish family living in London & the lengths to which people will go when they fear a loss of cultural identity, set against a backdrop of a curious love-triangle (of which only one of the participants is aware!) & other affairs of the heart. It shows how enlightenment can be reached by many different approaches & how none of it matters if you can't actually get your head round your own problems first.

Smart, funny, witty & written with an affection for the characters & subject matter, this is a superb debut novel from a comedian who has turned his hand to another medium & excelled. It paves the way nicely for his darker novel, Whatever Love Means, as well as his latest, The Secret Purposes; a semi-fictional/semi-biographical account of the Jewish settlement on the Isle of Man during WWII.

A must-read book of the highest calibre, Time for Bed delivers everything you could possibly want from a rom-com & leaves the audience wanting more.

Rating: 7/10


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