Book Review: James Hawes ~ My Little Armalite (2008)

I wrongly believed that this would stand in the tradition of Tom Sharpe and so looked forward to slap-stick humour. It isn’t Sharpe it’s a biting satire with lots of black humour.

John Goode is a 45 year old university lecturer in German studies at UCL – a prestigious university of London college. It’s prestigious but doesn’t pay very well. He bitterly resents this betrayal, as he sees it. An over-whelming sense of entitlement makes him rage against the world with rants against chavs, estate agents, the media and the cruelty of academic competition. He aspires to be a member of the bourgeoisie but knows it’s a remote possibility.

In a rare but glorious Tom Sharpe moment he finds an Armalite gun. This empowers him. Instead of being a rabbit with a huge mortgage and panic attacks about the schooling of his children he becomes a warrior. Like all good warriors he emerges wounded and triumphant. He hangs on to his liberal beliefs and is still more-or-less the same man. Richer, living in a better neighbourhood without a mortgage ‘a media tart’ and still working in a university department but the same man.

A pacey read which offers some lovely zeitgeist moments of middle-class hatred.

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