Dirt, grit, filth and sharp wit come together in this anthology...
First and foremost it is imperative that I stress that I am female. This is important as no doubt I will not have read some of these lessons learnt in the same way as say, a man would – for now obvious reasons. It also means that I have an insatiable curiosity about what kind of lessons men could possibly learn from being dumped.
I suppose my biggest surprise was the candour of the various authors – this being essentially a collection of experiences from a diverse background of individuals (all male). I had expected some blowhards to turn the screws on their ex’s, or even to sound off in an unconvincingly un-bitter way. Don’t get me wrong – some of the men clearly are a little bitter, or maybe I should downgrade that to disgruntled, it doesn’t sound as aggressive. In any event, whilst the responses to being dumped was varied, the attempt at humour was not. Unfortunately, not all succeeded – in fact, some were distinctly un-funny. I didn’t get Lesson 6 “Don’t Come on Your Cat”; a story of pretend bestial perversion that didn’t even have a tenuous link to being dumped by a girl to justify its existence. Lesson 14 “I am a Gay Man” had less to do with being dumped than the realisation that if you’re gay – you’re gay. No point trying to hide your gayness under a bushel. But these were just lame ducks or gap-fillers; and they made the funny lessons all the more funny for their obvious lack.
There are of course some best bits. Every anthology has to have them; they’re called the “moneymakers” because they are the reason you buy the book. My favourite moneymaker is Lesson 15 “Nine Years is the Exact Amount of time to be in a Bad Relationship” by Bob Odenkirk; it is not, strictly speaking about the experience of being dumped – but manifests itself as a transcription of a self-help seminar aimed at those struggling in their relationship. I found myself nodding my head along with Bob’s scathing insight – in fact, I nodded so vigorously at one stage it almost felt like my neck would snap – but who could disagree with this acutely cynical yet true observation: “Why the hell do you think people climb Everest? Because it sucks BIG TIME! They did it anyway and now they can rub that in other people’s faces for the rest of their lives. You wimps.” - Sheer genius.
Diabolical, outrageous and as dangerously addictive as smoking (you know it’s bad for your health but you’ll be damned if you’re going to quit); Things I’ve Learned From Women Who’ve Dumped Me is the antithesis of boredom, the antichrist to political correctness and an entertaining romp into the minds and lives of its multiple authors.
We interview C J Daugherty about Night School
- 10 January 2012