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Posts Tagged ‘With One Lousy Free Packet Of Seed’

When I was wondering yesterday which book to read next, ‘The Lynne Truss Treasury‘ leapt at me. Lynne Truss is, of course, known for her book on punctuation, ‘Eats, Shoots & Leaves‘, which brought her international fame. But before she became an international bestselling author, Lynne Truss wrote comic novels. This book collects three of those novels and one collection of her columns, which all came out in the ’90s. I read the first book in the collection today, ‘With One Lousy Free Packet of Seed‘.

With One Lousy Free Packet of Seed‘ (that title definitely needs improvement! Who suggested this? What were the editors doing here?) is concerned mostly with people who are working in a magazine called ‘Come Into the Garden’. Osborne writes a weekly column for the magazine after interviewing a celebrity, Lillian is the secretary in the office who refuses to pick up the phone and whom everyone is scared of, Michelle is the Chief Sub Editor who works hard and stays late, Tim is a young Deputy Editor. Osborne is going to interview a famous actress called Angela Farmer during the coming week. But, meanwhile, the magazine has been sold off to a new owner, and the new owner decides to shut it down. But when the story starts, the characters in the story don’t know this. I can continue the story, of course, but I won’t. I will just say this. More characters make their appearances, strange things happen, the plot becomes more and more complex and spirals out of control, and how it all comes together in the end, is described in the rest of the book.

I enjoyed reading ‘With One Lousy Free Packet of Seed’. Lynne Truss’ prose was beautiful, engaging and filled with humour, the story was comic and hilarious and I couldn’t stop laughing at many places, and towards the end, the story became a screwball comedy. I think it will make a great play or a movie. I loved nearly all the characters in the story (except one who was malicious and another who was annoying) – they were all charming. Towards the end, there is even a chapter where the story transforms into a murder mystery and all the main characters who are potential suspects are sitting in a room and discussing which one of them could be the murderer. It is hilarious!

There is a beautiful, charming preface at the beginning of the book, in which Lynne Truss says this :

“As I write this, I can’t quite visualise the book you are holding. All I can imagine is that it must be quite substantial, and I can’t help remembering a review I once published in ‘The Listener’, which said that the book in question (a one-volume ‘Cambridge Companion to English Literature’) was so thick that you could stand on it ‘to kiss someone tall’. Please do employ this giant tome in any similar useful way you can think of. On busy, fuggy subways, for example, you could stand on it to reach the better air. On icy days, load this book in the trunk of your car to prevent unwanted slewing! If you find yourself on a yacht drifting towards dangerous rocks, attach ‘The Lynne Truss Treasury’ to a sturdy anchor chain and heave it over the side. I won’t mind a bit. I have never written anything remotely weighty before. It makes me feel so proud.”

I fell in love with Lynne Truss after I read that. I can’t wait to read the next story in the book.

Have you read this or other comic novels by Lynne Truss? What do you think about them?

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