Yes Man by Danny Wallace

Review by Arren, 13 years old, from Arizona, USA

“It is quite incredible how a bus -- a simple, red, London bus -- can change your life. There were other reasons for why what happened eventually happened, of course. I'm not saying it was all about the bus. But the bus was pretty high on the list. Or, more accurately, the man sitting next to me on the bus. Here he is, right now, flicking through his Evening Standard, checking his cheap, black watch, mere moments after uttering a sentence that, quite without him knowing, has had the most unexpected effect on me.” And so begins the book, “Yes Man.” The speaker is the book’s author and main character (the book is based on a true story) Danny Wallace. Wallace is describing a man on a bus, a man that said something that changed Wallace’s life forever… but wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. Danny Wallace is a twenty-seven year-old Londoner, a twenty-seven year-old Londoner who doesn’t do much… at all. As a freelance radio producer, Wallace doesn’t have very many deadlines, and has his own hours. Wallace was a happy man, until his girlfriend, Hanne, broke up with him. Without Hanne, Danny realized that he was basically lost. He didn’t have any visitors, any purpose, and nothing to do. Wallace became quite depressed. He didn’t want to see any of his friends, he didn’t want to do anything, in fact, when he was out of his house, he would go out of his way just to decline social invitations. He spent almost all of his life sitting at home, eating take-out, and watching late night soap operas. Wallace didn’t like what he was doing with his life, but he was too unhappy to do anything about it. All of this changed on one of Wallace’s rare commutes to work, which brings us back to the man sitting next to Danny on the bus. On the bus to work, Danny sat down next to this man, and made polite conversation with him. In the conversation, Wallace talked some about his various troubles. Then, out of the blue, the stranger says, “Say ‘yes’ more.” The man doesn’t say anything else. After some consideration, Danny takes this advice to heart. He vows to say “yes” to every invitation, opportunity, etc. for one full day… which was extended to a month… and then a year. Our hero, with a new way of life, heads out on a life- changing adventure that brings him to places like Singapore and Amsterdam, gets him a new girlfriend, and treats him to the “Mind Bomb”, an extremely powerful, legal-ish (in Amsterdam), consciousness-expanding drug, among other crazy things that Wallace says “Yes” to. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. In fact, I loved it. Wallace is an excellent storyteller/narrator and made the book smart, witty, and altogether enjoyable. Wallace’s nonchalant way of narrating different events in his activities made the book quite funny, and made some of the already funny events in the book even funnier. Because of the fact that Wallace had experienced the different events in the book, he was able to provide side stories and elaboration, a smart idea on Wallace’s part, for it made the book even better than it already is. The book is very British in style and humor with some of the different terms and words used and can take some getting used to, but this makes the book even better. Frankly, the only thing that bothered me about the book is its lack of fluidity. It isn’t that the writing wasn’t good, it’s more that the plot consisted of disconnected episodes. Although the things that Wallace does are fun and interesting, they don’t really make up a story as a whole. They are a series of smaller stories that are loosely tied together. But honestly, those are my only problems with the book. I highly recommend this book. It is more appropriate for people who can handle innuendo, as it deals with some topics, such as drug and alcohol use, that are geared towards older audiences. , A profane word is thrown in here or there, but nothing that could ruin the book for most readers. So, in the end, I recommend this book for teens and adults, but if you can handle the loose plot structure and a few challenging topics , I strongly suggest that you read it.

Posted on 2010-01-11