Firstly, before I start this review, there are thank-you’s as always! Firstly thank you to Simon Pont for writing such as blisteringly sarcastic book of love, heartbreak, meltdowns, work crises and notably Tequila that made me not only smile and cry almost at the same time, but also to Matthew Smith of Urbane Publications, for as Pont puts it ‘for buying into me, and figuring Remember to Breathe was a leap of faith worth taking.’ This book was definitely a risk worth taking and it has certainly paid off. I have not read a book so brilliantly written with style and substance, and a message to boot! But enough of me completely getting ahead of myself, slow down and get ready for a ride of lifetime!
London at the turn of the Millennium. Samuel Grant has it all – the look, the job, the achingly cool suit… but he isn’t having any fun. Worse than that, he’s depressed. He loathes his dream job, has grown a boil, fashioned a Walter Mitty-complex, and his perfect girlfriend has dumped him. That he drove her away only makes matters worse. Samuel admits he’s hardly the worse off of London’s 8 million residents, but that’s hardly the point when you’re busy styling the perfect pre mid-life crisis. Remember to Breathe is Bridget Jones from the other side of the gender divide. The tale of one man’s search to feel like a hero, without having to do anything heroic. Samuel is “that guy”, the one you’ll naturally love to hate, and yet can’t help forgive and love just a little – because there’s a little bit of Samuel Grant in all of us. Remember to Breath follows the life of an unlikely anti-hero, who rather distressingly is going through a mid-life crisis. Drowning in hangovers, the bore of meetings in a career he is currently disinterested in, and heartbroken over a woman who appeared to be perfect Samuel Grant is in a rut (and don’t even mention the boil!) Pont describes a man weathered by life in a distinctively unrestricted and uncensored dialogue. Not only does the main character scream of a slight snobbery, and uncontrolled freedom but he also reeks of vulnerability and weakness. He is a liability if you will, and yet underneath the pretence of reckless abandon there is a spirit waiting to be nurtured back to life. Remember To Breathe, is a book of discovery, and of flaws and contradictions, written in an incredibly beautiful fashion. I guess as Samuel Grant continues to wallow in his life without the ‘golden boy’ label he wanders towards an unpretentious life that is openly genuine. But before getting there, Pont takes the reader on a road of discovery, through fancy meals in glitzy but notably pretentious bars selling expensive G&T’s, elaborate emails, nostalgic flash-backs to times where things all seemed perfect and hangovers, really, really bad hangovers.
This book had me from the word go; reading the blurb and the line
‘[RTB] is a rom-com trip set to a retro beat for anyone who’s ever partied like it was 1999. And woken to realise that the last tequila was unwise.’
You can’t really go wrong can you? The one thing I really loved about this book was the description; mocking and cynical the dialogue is rife with sardonic statements. The language used really allows the reader to get inside the mind of the main character and to understand the pain that he is going for. For at least the first thirty-two pages we are allowed unlimited access to the broken heart of the main character and to anyone that has recently gone through heart-break (myself, recently included) it made me cry but also want to laugh. The routines, the numbness, the sheer chasm of being alone is incredibly well described and definitely rang a bell with me. This description is exemplified in the portrayal of the London restaurant scene. Sardonic, snobbish and expensive, with rolling descriptions; ‘I went for their signature starter, a seriously yolky eggs Benedict served with enough hollandaise to down a Large cat.’ This sarcastic demeanour is a fixture throughout the entirety of the book and adds a mature understanding of style that I have never seen performed so well before. I have never seen a book written so honestly or so demeaning that works so incredibly well. The characters are also incredibly well-built up, not only Samuel Grant but the supporting members of the book; Tam is a strong, beautiful female with ambition and drive, she wants Grant to succeed and supports him throughout, whilst struggling to find herself in her own life. The romantic chemistry between the two I thought could have made an interesting sub-story, however their friendship comes through as very real and genuine and I think by the end both know that there could have been something more, that only makes your heart ache more. Jamie is ultimately a posh twit, with a love of beautiful women, sexist and disrespectful you can’t help but detest him and laugh at him albeit in a careful way and Sean is the dozy but loveable character that you can’t quite get enough of. They mesh together beautiful, fuelling hilarious email conversations, rollicking dinners, excessive partying and sarcastic life lessons.
If you haven’t realised yet, I loved this book and I wholeheartedly recommend it to any reader; I have not read a book of this quality in a very long time, and I cannot wait to read more of Simon Pont’s books. All-in-all this is a bittersweet nostalgic book of lost innocence, parties, love, friendship, heartbreak and overall, new leases of life. Set in the backdrop of the beautiful late 90’s this book screams of maturity in a sexy sarcastic way that I could not get enough of. I cannot wait to read this book all over again; pure brilliance (and I mean that!)
Buy a copy here, (you know you want to!) http://www.amazon.co.uk/Remember-Breathe-Simon-Pont/dp/1909273007