Out of the Ordinary: True Tales of Everyday Craziness – Jon Ronson

Genre: Non-fiction/Journalism
Pages: 306
Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Opening Line:

“This book begins in 2002 with me promising my four-year-old son Joel that I would stay with him in a Santa costume for the rest of his life.”

I was raving to my friend about Jon Ronson, and making an attempt to describe him, when I remembered that I had a copy of this in my bag. On the cover is a photograph of Jon himself (without his trademark round glasses), and I said, ‘That’s him!’ My friend took the book, read the blurb, then started to read the beginning…

…22 pages later she was still reading, and had been laughing quite frequently. She particularly liked the parts involving Jon’s son, Joel, and his statement that he was ‘going to have a horrible life.’ That’s when I pointed her to two other excerpts a bit further on into the book, under chapter 5: Out of the Ordinary. She read them both, and by the time she’d finished we were both laughing, with tears streaming down our faces. It is important to note that we were sat in the library, and that people in close proximity to us probably thought we were crazy. But it’s okay, because we were reading a book about everyday craziness.

Inside, I was thinking ‘Yes! I have got someone into Jon Ronson!’ My friend told me that she might invest in the book, so I immediately told her where she could buy it for just £3. I am, as I write this, feeling rather like a walking Jon Ronson advert. But that’s the magic of his writing. You read it and you think ‘Whoa…this is really good.’ Jon has a certain appeal through his writing style, and that comes in bucket loads in this book.

It is comprised of extracts from columns that were originally published in the Guardian’s Weekend magazine, and is split into two parts: Jon’s domestic craziness, and other people’s extraordinary occurrences.

Now, having said all of that I find it important to note that my excitement and enjoyment of this book comes mostly from Part 1. Having read it all, my verdict is simply this: Come for Part 1, and stay for part 2. By stay, I mean stick it out. The latter part isn’t as funny, and I would argue, less ‘everyday craziness’ and more extremely odd and disturbing which leads me to wonder why they have been included. The topics covered in Part 2 are: Paedophilia, Who Wants to be a Millionaire? , religious cults donating kidneys for free, and Stanley Kubrick’s home. It’s a mixed bag, for sure, and I didn’t enjoy them half as much as Part 1. Although I love his writing, in this case, the book is a peak, and then a trough.

Overall, I still think this book is addictive, and if you get along with his writing style well, it won’t take you long to read, and you’ll be begging for more. It’s a good job then that this book is one of two books about everyday craziness. I have yet to find and read the second book, but I have no doubt that I will be hunting for it furiously as soon as possible! But I really hope it is like part 1 of this book in its entirety. That would be amazing.

Link to the book on Goodreads:

Out of the Ordinary: True Tales of Everyday Craziness

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