Part of the What We Are Reading Now collection of Book Reviews by friends of Essex Book Festival
A Book Review by a member of Appetite Book Club
Leonard and Hungry Paul takes you on a gentle stroll through the lives of two quiet, unassuming but far from insignificant individuals. The main characters are mid thirties, living with their parents and their idea of a good social evening is to play a board game or two. These placid, “nice” outsiders are often overlooked by society and disregarded to the point of insignificance.
But, to dismiss Leonard and Hungry Paul is to miss out on their refreshing, if not popular, 21st century philosophy. As the book unfolds we experience Leonard’s tentative steps into the world of love and Hungry Paul’s organic journey towards the culmination of his unique ideology. Along the way we experience their many acts of small kindnesses, honest revelations and, at times, frankly stark observations. Their delightful interaction and relationships with parents, siblings, work and friends drives the novel’s storyline.
With an exquisitely light touch, the author unfolds their lives, allowing us to admire their selflessness and individuality. As Leonard says he doesn’t really understand the “rules” and “anyone can deliver the right line. But that’s not real. That doesn’t prove anything. What matters is what a person is really like.” In our current world of succinct sound bites, rapid social media likes and Instagram hits, this is a refreshing approach amidst the maelstrom of our modern world.
This is a book to linger over, to savour and enjoy in a quiet corner, the outside world forgotten. As you near the end you may wish you could dwell a little longer in the thoughtful, humble, “quiet” lives of Leonard and Hungry Paul, rather than re-join the loud, didactic society outside your door and ask yourself who can really change the world?
Appetite Book Club an informal book club, meeting monthly in Colchester. To find out more including how to join visit https://appetitebookclub.wordpress.com
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