Some books are like chocolate. They make you feel good…
Title: 46% Better than Dave
Author: Alastair Puddick
Date of publication: 2019
Publisher: Raven Crest Books
A novel of jealousy, muddy shoes and giant barbecues.
Dave Brookman’s new next-door neighbour is ruining his life. Because in a bizarre coincidence, he’s also called Dave Brookman, he’s the same age and he even grew up in the same town. There is one big difference, though. This new Dave is vastly more successful in every way.
As Dave starts questioning everything about himself, suddenly his perfect life seems a lot less than perfect. And what starts as friendly rivalry soon turns into obsessive jealousy and crazy behaviour that could see Dave lose it all. Can he get a grip before it’s too late?
Oh, Dave, Dave, Dave…
Meet Dave. Good husband, good father. Dave has a lovely life, a job he likes, friends, and a house over his head.
But one day, Dave also gets a new neighbour. His name is Dave. The similarities don’t end there, unfortunately. What could have been a fun coincidence turns into what I can only call a pure mess.
How would you react if the guy living next to you was you, or rather a better version of you?
This novel triggered lots of emotions in me. I laughed at the absurdity of things, I was uncomfortable because I could relate to Dave’s struggles. I felt sorry for him. I tutted and sighed, annoyed at his choices. The hardest part was not knowing how I would have reacted to the same situation.
I am pretty sure most of us are prone to comparing ourselves to others. Someone in the street. A colleague. Of course, it passes. There are limits to those comparisons. Those people are not a mirror ready to reflect all you did wrong.
The problem is Dave’s neighbour is not just anyone. They share so much more than a name that our Dave begins to make a list. Because he feels something is wrong. How can they be so similar and yet so different? Why is our Dave less successful? Of course, success is subjective, and this is what our main character needs to learn the hard way.
Through his mad obsession, Dave discovers how destructive it is let jealousy burn you from inside!
If this novel is hilarious and the perfect read for any situation, there is also a thick layer of depth and exploration of why we are our best enemy. One move and Dave’s life shatters in a million pieces. I am guilty of having felt so stupid, useless, and so less interesting than other people. I have wondered why I was paid less. Why my hair couldn’t be shinier and prettier. Why clothes never fell the right way on me. Those feelings can eat you alive. Dave is the best example I have! It’s all in the way you decide to look at things. Seriously, how important is the size of your barbecue?!!!
How easy it is for us to forget what we have when we are blinded by what others possess. What a dreadful thought. I hate competition, and for a good reason. It never brings the best out of people! Just look at those footballers yelling and insulting the referees! The author has a knack for putting his finger right where it hurts, using Dave to pinpoint exactly what is wrong with our behavior with humour and a very unique style that makes the read easy and unforgettable.
With endearing characters and a crazy but so real account of what can take us over the edge, Alastair Puddick has written one fantastic book!
Meet Dave, go for the ride of his life, and don’t assume anything!
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Thank you to the wonderful Kelly Lacey for inviting me to read and review this novel and for organising such a fun tour.
Alastair Puddick is a writer and editor who has spent the past 20 years writing for a variety of magazines and websites. His work has spanned many different paths, from jetting off to exciting cities across the world to writing about dating advice, data centres, facilities management and the exciting world of flooring. He also once wrote an agony advice column posing as Elvis Presley’s ghost.
Alastair still works as a copywriter and lives in Sussex with his wife, Laura, and cat, George. He has written three novels: The Unexpected Vacation of George Thring, Killing Dylan and his newest book, 46% Better Than Dave.