At first it sounds like The Hubs is all the people worth punching, but that's just warming things up. He doesn't really do anything that bad, but when you're on the end of a flying set of knuckles throating your way, it's going to look a lot like fistmas.
People I Want to Punch in the Throat compiles a series of blog posts into a nice, edible book that burns through quick on reading. It's a funny volley of diatribes and observations that finds no rest. What you have to wonder is if the people walking about in the pages actually do exist and how much of the book is hyperbole, stretching more than yoga pants can bare. When more than a few instances ring true, you know the answer.
Jen Mann leaves nothing sacred for all that exists to haunt your days living in the suburbs is ripe for the riposte. Not so much scathing as it is succulent in how meaty each bite is made of the various locals and customs working with other mums, parents, pretty much anyone that manages to make themselves float around in your circle of existence.
Hell is other people, and indeed, you get a nice roadmap lined with brimstone burning full on and with an intense scrutiny. It does trigger laughter, that weird chuckle sound when you're around other people as they stand and talk to each other about things that develop into or from in-jokes, and ably weaves through all manner of situations with a visceral "what am I doing here?" beat.
Mann isn't cracking wise insomuch as pulling back the absurdity of it all and lays it bare, with such a clean voice that carries each page effortlessly and times itself well to round things up before the next episode begins. It's a book you can pick up and digest without the need for extra fibre in your diet. Tasty grinnings.
After putting down People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Competitive Crafters, Daycare Despots, and Other Suburban Scourges you'll want to shake off the remnants of being in far too many of those nightmare scenarios. But none delivered on reflection in such a casual, acerbic and witty manner. An hilarious collection of essays.
The publisher provided a review copy.
Reviewed on Sunday, 30 November 2014