BOOK REVIEW – RAVEN SMITH’S TRIVIAL PURSUITS

Today, it’s another review and this time it’s Raven Smith’s hilarious new book, Trivial Pursuits. 

I love Raven Smith’s Instagram and his journalism – it’s fresh, modern, frank and hilarious so I was so excited when I saw he was releasing his first book. I loved it and I couldn’t stop folding page after page as I just adored his writing. But first, what’s it about? Here’s the synopsis:

A hilarious, smart and incredibly singular debut from Raven Smith, whose exploration of the minutiae of everyday modern life and culture is totally unique and painfully relatable.

Is being tall a social currency? Am I the contents of my fridge? Does yoga matter if you’re not filthy rich? Is a bagel four slices of bread? Are three cigarettes a meal?

From IKEA meatballs to minibreaks, join Raven Smith as he reflects on the importance we place in the least important things and our frivolous attempts to accomplish and attain. He also tackles his single-parent upbringing, his struggles as a lonely teenager and his personal experience of coming out.

Packed with brilliant humour, great tenderness and lingering pathos, Raven Smith’s Trivial Pursuits is a book for anyone who has ever asked ‘when I get to the pearly gates of heaven, will a viral tweet count for or against my entry?’

I love a good essay collection, they’re probably one of my favourite types of books to read and this was no exception. This is exactly what I needed at the moment – to just laugh so much it aches. This collection is hilarious from start to finish and the way that it is written – with short, sharp, punchy sentences and questions, you have no time to pause and stop – you just go along for the ride.

I love essay collections and really fond of David Sedaris but with so many books published, I can’t keep up but I’m so glad to read Raven’s debut book and be there at the start of it. While it’s hilarious, there were moments that felt really brave and wonderful to read. My favourite chapter of the book is ‘Marathon Love’ where he talks about his relationship with his husband. That essay is something that I can’t stop thinking about. I love this quote:

Marathon love needs different sustenance from a sprint. It needs the nutrient-rich compost you only get from being agreeable and listening, which sounds easy but it isn’t. The sprint is always short-lived. Live fast, die young. A marathon takes time. Look how far we’ve come, my baby.

I just adored that quote and I’m still thinking about it. That’s what Raven does – he writes so brilliantly and you can’t stop laughing but then he hits you with truths – perhaps hidden truths you’ve not thought or explored before. There are some other great essays on: his fear of writing the book, Theresa May’s outfits, emails, among others. Another favourite on mine is when he wonders whether he will be a good dad. It’s just a really great collection of great, brilliant writing.

I loved this essay collection – it’s spiky, current, fresh, modern and you won’t be able to stop laughing, folding every page because everything rings so true and real. Full of questions – the trivial, the personal, the ones we dare not to ask ourselves… I think this is a great read for the moment – pure escapism and a time to just laugh for a while. I adored it. It’s also a Sunday Times Bestseller and it’s thoroughly deserved!

PS: I can’t stop thinking about when Raven is talking about the fear of writing his book and what the literary community would think of it, he says: “Zadie Smith calls me a twat.” I just can’t stop laughing at that line. This would also be a really great audiobook as Raven reads it himself.

Have you read Raven Smith’s Trivial Pursuits? What did you think? What’s your favourite essay collection? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you,

Corey.

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