Just Another Ordinary Boy (J.A.O.B) By Brendon Luke Book review by Ben Barrett Just Another Ordinary Boy (henceforth referred to as JAOB) is the autobiography of Brendon Luke, recounting a dramatic chain of events throughout his work and personal life. It delves into various episodes and encounters with the sort of people we all come across - both the reasonable and the highly unreasonable - across his career in the medical industry (plagued with entangled and sometimes preschool-ish affairs), his people-winning and fabulously flamboyant private persona as a man of taste (and of the non-hetero variety), his formative years, and all the good people throughout (as well as more than a few repugnant ones).
The book is peppered throughout with anecdotes that I found hilarious, all written in Brendon’s casual and colorful prose:
One day I was super pissed off by this stupid fat kid that reminded me of myself. He made me angry in the way that only someone who reminds you of who you used to ashamedly be, can do. I had no compassion, just revulsion for the chubby spoiled sook. I wanted him to do better and be better than that. I decided, #$%& it, he was pissing me off, so I pushed him down the slide. When he got to the bottom, he turned back and looked at me like I had completely betrayed him, and I had, but not in the way that he would ever understand as a 6-year-old.
Brendon carries the reader through his tale, beginning with his formative years working at the cinema and the friends and trials he experiences along the way. As he moves on and expands his horizons his personal connections reveal how people can sometimes be poisonous, and sometimes how they can just be utter morons as shown by some of his flatmates. The same can be said of his active love life and the partners along the way, including some who are prepared to move halfway across the globe for it! Debauchery is ever present in Brendon’s life and at certain points reaches hilarious lows:
Determined not to be the pervert found dead in the gutter with a nappy in his mouth after the storm broke, I summoned up all of my strength and called Emma. I gave vague directions to the location where I had fallen from the taxi, and explained I had travelled a brief distance through the gutters and luckily, she managed to locate me before I was washed down a storm drain.
But the one constant throughout the novel as his story starts to take off is the trials and tribulations he faces at his job(s) in the medical industry. He begins to seem increasingly plagued with harassment and breaches of trust within the hierarchy and amongst his supposed co-workers. Drama ensues as gossip and rumors fly around the utterly toxic workplace. It’s an unhealthy environment for Brendon but he manages to handle it quite well and even returns the favor with some righteous justice more often than not, getting his piece and exposing the wrongs. Though the book is an autobiography first and foremost, it is also in no small part a magnifying glass upon the reprehensible attitudes and behaviours that plague the modern workplace.
All in all, JAOB is an entertaining and relatable tale, one who’s casual language and style feels familiar and often sent me laughing at the phrasings used. Though the structure of the book’s chapters can seem disjointed at times resulting in a non-linear retelling, it eventually paints a complete picture of the life and times of Brendon Luke, and a dramatic one at that.