I’ve been a fan of both writers of this book for a while and aware of this book, but yet somehow it’s only now I’ve gotten around to reading it. The concept is simple, after a drunken bet about how common his name is Dave Gorman drags his flatmate to East Fife to meet another Dave Gorman. Thus begins a challenge to see if they can meet 54 men with that name.
Their search takes them to distant countries and they meet various interesting individuals, all called Dave Gorman. It’s a funny story of obsession and friendship, and also Danny Wallace’s stupid dedication to a bet (already known to me from his book Yes Man).
Both writers take turns narrating the story, a clever comic device that lets them make jokes at each other’s expense and highlight their differing attitudes- Gorman’s enthusiasm vs Wallace’s irritation. It also shows the strain that the bet and their gallivanting places on Wallace’s relationship with his girlfriend.
Reading it now the book feels like it belongs to a different age, despite being only 14 years old. While our heroes use the internet to aid their quest, it’s still a hard search. In today’s world of social media it would be far easier to track down the necessary Dave Gormen for the bet. It’s a story about people, and while they make jokes, the writers are never cruel to anyone and this kindness of spirit is what really makes this book work.
It’s a wonderfully silly idea, but carried off with real warmth and charm. Both writers are likeable and the whole thing comes across as an enjoyable lark, and it’s extremely entertaining.
Verdict: A charming and silly tale of obsession and sticking to a stupid, self imposed goal. Gorman and Wallace are likeable idiots on their quest and this is a very fun, quick read. 8/10.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.