When I chose this book I wanted a book that was light hearted, not to serious, and something that would make me laugh especially in the current climate that isn’t just gripping the UK, but the whole world. This book certainly delivered on those prerequisites… here’s the synopsis:
Andy Bellows is in a right state. Plagued with insomnia, anxiety and neckache, he’s convinced there’s something seriously wrong with him. And the worst thing is that his doctor agrees. The diagnosis: Andy is in the grip of a self-destructive addiction to technology—he just cannot put that bloody mobile phone down.
Texting, tweeting, gaming and online dating—technology rules Andy’s life. His phone even monitors his bowel movements. So how will he cope when he’s forced to follow doctor’s orders and step away from all of his beloved screens?
When he loses his precious digital window on the world, Andy discovers just how bewildering and scary living an analogue life can be. And when his sixty-day detox hits the headlines—making him a hero to suffering technophiles everywhere—Andy is sorely tempted to pack it all in and escape in the nearest Uber.
Can he get himself out of this mess, and work out how to live a better, technologically balanced life…without consulting Google even once?
What with us being connected pretty much all the time at the moment this book appealed to me on a lot of levels. I have screen times set for Facebook, BBC News and the Apple News app. I spend far too much time scrolling these but ultimately not taking a lot in or just end up looking at the same things again and again. I have recognised my need for less screen time for a long time, which which why these limits exist. Looking at my screen time reports on my iPhone I average about 4 hours per day on it. That’s a lot of time wasted, not really getting anything out of it.
Nick Spalding’s book had me laughing from the work go. Who can’t relate to a main character that constantly looks up information, however irrelevant. We’ve all done the browse the internet to find out what is wrong with us rather than just simply going to the doctors. The internet makes what anxiety we do have a hundred times worse, so I could relate to poor Andy’s problems when he’s trying to give his presentation and it goes a bit shit shaped.
The struggles of Andy’s detox are relatable. How many times do we quickly look something up – a quick check of IMDB for the actor in the film you’re watching but can’t place (this is me nearly every film I watch). I mean, even my knitting is logged, researched, and patterns sourced mainly online. Even as I am typing this I went and looked up some details on a film that my partner is watching.
Could you imagine not using the internet (except for work related purposes, as in Andy’s case)? It’s certainly a hard one! I am not sure if all of the exploits that Andy found himself into were relatable but some of them were – like getting lost on his way to a meeting as he didn’t have a sat nav and read the map wrong.
He did commit the rather rookie error of having his home address listed on his website which led to some questionable encounters from people who also wanted to detox. He did find a love interest from it all though, and I love how organically it developed, and how they both embraced a technologically free life, even if, unsurprisingly the detox didn’t last forever.
Towards the end of the book there’s a situation that calls for Andy to completely break his detox for an emergency. Not a run of the mill need an ambulance emergency, but ‘we’ve lost this item and need help’ type. If I had been in that situation I think I would have done exactly what Andy did – ask the internet for help, but I found hard to relate to was the anger that his detox followers had towards him for doing it. Andy used someone else’s phone in a bind to help find his girlfriends locket, not for a casual browse of Facebook just for the lols. I found that his followers anger wasn’t justifiable in that case so found them to be a little ‘holier than thou’ in that regard.
Overall I really enjoyed reading this one. It was some light escapism considering everything that is going on right now, even if I did somewhat ironically read it on my Kindle, through the Kindle Unlimited program.
Funny thing is, just before I started typing this blog I cancelled that membership. And my MyFitnessPal membership too. I don’t need to be quite so connected to everything, and sometimes it takes reading about someone else’s struggles to relate a little to what you’ve been doing.
What are you reading at the moment? Any good recommendations for me?