Book Review: Leonard & Hungry Paul

Books can be different. They can break the mould. I start by saying this because there is a lot of debate in publishing at the moment, how marginalised voices get heard, how publishing becomes something other than the churned out run of the mill stories published by the big 5 publishers and written by predominately white, middle class writers. To me, it doesn't matter who you are. If you've written a good book I love, I'll applaud it. And ultimately successful authors are successful for a reason. The mass market wants to read their books. The ones that get success maybe rise to the top anyway.

Which brings me back to Leonard & Hungry Paul. This book is published by a small independent press Bluemoose Books. I follow them on Twitter and Instagram and love what they do with their books. And their editor obviously has an eye for catching something special. I wish, in fact, they'd consider publishing mine. Ahem. Hint. Look in your submission pile. They published Leonard & Hungry Paul on a budget I'm sure, but it rose to the top anyway. I believe it's sold over 50,000 copies which is a huge amount for a book from an independent press. When I read it I don't know what I was expecting. But it knocked my socks off for beautiful poignant writing about two very ordinary lives that are in fact extraordinary. It doesn't have a dramatic storyline, just a simple friendship at its heart between Leonard - a single man who grieves the loss of his mother, is awkward with women and who writes children's encyclopedia's for a living and Hungry Paul - a considerate, caring man who loves his weekly board games and simply let's the stresses of life wash over him. 

I think there is something so special about a friendship between two men, told at a leisurely pace. The type of people who sit rather on the edge of what is deemed by society as socially acceptable. Two friends who would ordinarily remain uncelebrated. It's a relationship that's rarely told like there's something odd about it. When really it's just how it should be. Completely ordinary. Completely engaging. A little bit extraordinary. You will end up falling in love with Leonard and Hungry Paul. Promise.