Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Brilliant Matt Thorne

OK, this is another shamelessly narcissistic post, so as a reward for wading through my self-publicity guff, here's a pic of some nuclear missiles I saw in Utah last month.

Those Reviews Again

Shucks, I can't resist posting in full the Matt Thorne review of my book, from today's Independent on Sunday. I know, I know. My excuse is that the review is quite funny in itself. It is also, of course, entirely and startlingly accurate, apart from the bit where it is slightly critical.


Millions of Women, reviewed by Matt Thorne in the Independent on Sunday

On the cover of my proof copy of Sean Thomas's non-fiction account of his adventures on the internet-dating scene, Millions of Women Are Waiting to Meet You, there is a jokey warning that "this book reveals how men really think." This isn't true. Sean Thomas may believe himself to be a normal man, but in the course of this book he decides a woman named "Bongowoman" is an appealing person to go on a date with; describes how his first sexual experience (at 12 years old) involved him flashing at his parents' cleaning woman; reveals that he can only go out with women who are shorter than him (he describes such women as "sit-on-my-lap girls"); fakes suicide to impress a girl who's broken up with him; suffers from several bouts of serious impotence; catches crabs from an Australian woman; boasts about the TV celebrity he used to date, a relationship which began when he shoved his hand up her skirt; gets so addicted to internet porn (particularly "Bernie's Spanking Pages" and "extremely convoluted scenarios where submissive Danish actresses are intimately shaved by their dominant female doctors in the shower") that he masturbates himself into the hospital, where he ends up on a saline drip; goes into a 15-page explanation of why he doesn't want to sodomise a woman who's begged him to do so, before deciding that he will do it after all; explains how when he was 30 he made his 17-year old schoolgirl lover have an abortion; gets a blow-job from his best friend's girlfriend on Bayswater Road in full view of the public; performs oral sex on a woman moments after she has finished having sex with his friend in the other room; goes to a strip club in Thailand so often over a three-month period that one of the strippers writes messages to him with a pen clenched in her vagina; has an abortive threesome in Russia which ends with him prematurely ejaculating over the carpet, and in one of the book's most flabbergasting chapters, mistakenly believes he's impregnated a prostitute and considers throwing everything in and starting a family with her.

Now, Sean, that ain't normal. It is, however, hilarious. I can't remember reading a book that's made me laugh out loud as much as this one. Thomas must be extraordinarily brave to reveal so much about his personal life, and this book truly ups the stakes for the male confessional genre, offering an even more intimate insight into one man's mind than Toby Young's How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, which previously seemed as far as comic self-abnegation could go.

But, while Thomas is unbelievably open about his sex-life, by being quite so down on himself he misses a couple of tricks. He presents himself as a loser who "reviews Lego for Amazon", only occasionally disparagingly referring to his past career as an author. But he is a very good novelist, whose last book, The Cheek Perforation Dance, was a brilliant account of the darker extremes of sexual desire.

Here, he mostly plays the biographical details that clearly inspired this fiction for laughs, acknowledging this side of himself but trying to fit it into a conventional romantic scenario. Also, when towards the end of the book he talks about his difficult relationship with his novelist father (D M Thomas), he uses it to explain his problems with women, which seems an inadequate use of material that would perhaps be more suitable for a different sort of memoir.

I thoroughly enjoyed Millions of Women Are Waiting to Meet You, but I hope the easier sell of confessional literature doesn't distract Sean Thomas from continuing with his career as a novelist, especially now he has got this out of his system

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Sean. Just finished reading your book (did a google and found your blog) and have to say I really enjoyed it and agree with Matt Thorne. I laughed so much and almost had to read some pages looking through my fingers because of your brutal (but very funny)honesty. Most men will relate to a lot of it and women will be afraid.