Talking about – Identity Crisis by Ben Elton

Why are we all so hostile? So quick to take offence? Truly we are living in the age of outrage.

A series of apparently random murders draws amiable, old-school Detective Mick Matlock into a world of sex, politics, reality TV and a bewildering kaleidoscope of opposing identity groups. Lost in a blizzard of hashtags, his already complex investigation is further impeded by the fact that he simply doesn’t ‘get’ a single thing about anything anymore.

Meanwhile, each day another public figure confesses to having ‘misspoken’ and prostrates themselves before the judgement of Twitter. Begging for forgiveness, assuring the public “that is not who I am”.

But if nobody is who they are anymore – then who the f##k are we?

I wondered whether or not to write a blog post about this book because I didn’t finish it, but I didn’t stop reading because I disliked it. I don’t shy away from writing a negative review, but that isn’t what this is (hence the title of this post).

I love Ben Elton’s writing and I’ve enjoyed every other book of his that I’ve read from the satirical Dead Famous to the much more serious Two Brothers.

I was looking forward to Identity Crisis hugely. An author who’s wok I know I enjoy, and a book that touched on how I feel about a lot of things at the moment.

However when I came to read it, I hit a snag. I just couldn’t enjoy it as much as i wanted to. This wasn’t a problem with the writing or the storyline. No, instead it was the subject matter.

It was so close to what’s happening in the real world at the moment (which shows how ridiculous the real world is right now) that it didn’t feel like satire or a humorous take on things. Instead it all felt depressingly real. Rather than offering an escape from reality it felt a concentrated dose of it in book form.

All of which meant it became a DNF for me, through absolutely no fault of its own.

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