I came across a review of what looks like one of those particularly awful books, The SCREAMING Self-Help Type Book. It is called Men! Forget the Fiction! Where are the Interesting and Available Men? It screams out like some manic, crazy advertisement for something cheap and nasty. Honestly, the cover gave me a fright when I saw it. (Click on the image, but be prepared for a shock…)
It is written by one Isabel Losada. That’s a great name, honestly. I am truely impressed by this name. And, in fairness, although I am making a laugh at her expense, I have a sneaking regard for her. She has got books published, which is no mean feat, and fair play to her. She is, as the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe would say, harmless. However, it is all downhill from there. As she claims herself: “The Author – a self elected representative of all intelligent single women over the age of 35.” Since when? This is embarassing Isabel, drop it.
Let’s look at her Amazon page. Notice anything about the reviews? They are all written by the same person, honestly! She has signed in as herself under different pseudonyms. They are a dead giveaway: all way-over-the-top, all ask you to “buy the books for all your friends”, or even claim that they’ve done that already. Look at the titles: Radical Honesty, Six Stars for this book Please!, Original, funny and so true, The Search for the Elusive Male……,The bravery of honesty, etc. Ad nauseum. Oh come on Losada, mix it up a bit! All the reviewers invariably write “Men” with an initial capital letter, the reviewers have all only ever written one review (I checked) and the style is so consistent between them. This is a blatant bit of manipulative self-publicity. I mean, look at the one by “Kevin Hopkins”. Ugh. And notice the blatant angle of each and every review: this book is “honest”, “intelligent”, and “suitable for both men and women”! As if.
Isabel has kindly put up some pictures of herself. The captions are hilarious. Amazon asks, “Was this image helpful?”. What’s helpful about an image? Did it make me a cup of tea, or tuck me into bed? No!
Her own website is a brilliant laugh! Under her favourite Poems section, she is candid enough to reveal: “Sometimes I find that books have just too many words in them.” So true! Why do they put so many damn words in books Isabel, and why can’t they just put in nice pictures. And you wonder why you cannot find an intelligent man?
Take her “100 Reasons to be Glad“. Honestly, this is pap of the highest order. It covers that awful middle-ground of dumb profundity that self-help books excel in. “The sea” is at number 8. “New pillows” at 74. And on and on the list goes, some are just idiotically “charming” entries, like toast, a glass of water, showers, rain, spider’s webs, etc, others profound and political, like Mandela and the Dalai Lama. Here are some examples:
Number 5: That sometimes a bus comes along just as you walk up to the bus stop. What about all the times it arrived just before you got to the bus stop. Seems to me it all evens out over time, cynic that I am.
Number 39: That Robin Williams is in SO many films. Ugh.
Number 54: Re-incarnation may be true. I dread the thought!
Number 65: Lambs. (And the fact that some people don’t eat them). That is a fat load of consolation to the lambs! Do they sit in the fields, gambolling about, or whatever it is they do, consoling themselves with the thought that, “We may be eaten, but at least we won’t be eaten by vegetarians”. Huh?
Number 89: Coloured pencils. Oh dear, running out of ideas, are we? Still 11 more to go…
Number 100: That you can write your own list… xxx isabel
Okay, let me take the challenge:
That I am not Isabel Losada
That I am not a lamb who is going to be eaten by someone
That Robin Williams will die some day
That I was born after someone invented the Delete button
That we can leave Ireland and escape the rain at least once a year
Scotch whiskey, yum!
Fantastic fun! Thanks Isabel, for putting a smile on my face.