Never Hit a Jellyfish with a Spade: How to Survive Life’s Smaller Challenges

First attracted by the size, then by the cover, and lastly by the title, I didn’t intend to borrow Never Hit a Jellyfish with a Spade: How to Survive Life’s Smaller Challenges by Guy Browning on my recent trip to the local library. The book was showcased on display rack next to a recent release, Possessed. It was a cute little book and the reviews on the back cover caught my attention. I couldn’t resist a book that is “consistently amusing and regularly laugh-out loud funny.” Of course, I am aware of the exaggerating nature of the press reviews and am quite careful not to fall into the marketing trap of the so-called “No.1 Bestseller” created by the publishing industry.

Fortunately, it was proved that this “Runaway #1 British Bestseller” was not a trap.

The book was an easy read. It contains 12 topics that cover a variety of life experiences, such as sport and exercise, sleeping and walking, and love and marriage. Each mini chapter is titled “How to…” followed by an action. None of the chapters is longer than three pages, which is why it is such a great book to be carried along in transit.

For the most part, the book is funny yet not in the sort of laugh-out-loud-funny as described by one of the press reviews. It has no intention to teach you how to survive life’s challenges as its title suggests. What it intends to do is to present readers with cute little true-to-life wisdoms in a way that makes you smile. For example, in the chapter of “How to…Eat Healthily,” Browning wrote, “Strangely, as you get older you eat more and more unpleasant things that are supposedly good for you. When your diet is 90 percent dried fruit and prunes you know it’s time either to die or to switch to chicken nuggets and live a little.” I can certainly draw connection to this little piece of saddening truth as this is what I witness my relatives, and even my parents, are doing as they age.

There are other similar lines throughout the book. Nothing in there would greatly surprise you since they are all about everyday life. However, the corner of your mouth might lift as you read them.


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