Blurb from the back of the book;
The title says it all. Doug Morrell: parcel delivery driver, loner, social inadequate, serial stalker and ultimate fantasist; is a man obsessed – with himself, fame, reality TV, and Z-list ‘celebrity’ Donna Trayhorn. He also has a point to prove to those who bullied him st school and mocked him at work for being a misfit. Once his first best seller is out, it will be his turn to lord it over them.
Thus Doug takes us on his amazing, often hilarious but disturbing journey in a double pursuit of the fame and adulation he craves – and Donna. But whether he finally acheives his ambitions is anyone’s guess – as reality and fantasy become increasingly hard to separate.
The character of Doug Morrell immediately reminded me of an actor in Please Sir! For those of us old enough to remember, there was a pupil called Frankie Abbott who was portrayed as a mummy’s boy but was an ineffectual lad and fantasist frequently getting out his pair of revolvers to shoot the enemies and making the vocal noisies to go with it. There is also an element of Walter Mitty here. Morrell is seriously annoying in this book being so self centred and deeply irritating although redeemingly intelligent. He is the man at a party in the kitchen dressed in a brown polo neck with his long hair strands swept across the bald pate whose conversation leaves you so perplexed so that you back away slowly.
The story of Doug is narrated entirely by himself throughout the book. Doug is obsessed with the reality TV programme Voyeur (read Big Brother) and Donna Trayhorn one of it’s early evictees. He eventually goes too far in his pursuit of her and gets himself in hot water with the police. At this point, some of the extent of his delusions are revealed to the reader and I begin to feel a little bit sorry for our man. In reality Doug would have been passed over to some form of mental health service here, however this doesn’t happen in the book. Doug is socially isolated throughout and seemingly happy that way, he continually rebuffs Matt, a fellow van driver who appears to be offering some kind of friendship to him. Doug lives half the time in a fantasy life as a brave hero saving Donna and defeating his enemies. He also has a delightful habit of stealing pens from people and sees it as a form of revenge or punishment, this is quite funny at times.
Ultimately Doug gets what he wishes for and for a while he seems to stop fantasising although he is in a reality TV setting which of course is somewhat unreal. Very clever stuff by the author here. Seemingly he is taken advantage of by his Voyeur management team but finally he ends up with his one true love and that is all Doug wants.
Initially I did not think I was going to enjoy this book. I thought it was a lad’s read, however I changed my mind completely and I really did like it. It was different, quirky and well put together. It’s well written and the author is obviously a watcher of reality TV like myself and well versed in the nuances of the show!! It’s a book of our time as reality TV viewers.