As some of you may be aware, the narrow-browed, hypocritical, fearmongering fascist rag otherwise known as the Daily Mail has recently been declared as a ‘fake news’ source by Wikipedia. I’m not going to be impartial, I despise the Daily Mail. It is the very embodiment of hypocrisy. A coin, one side a shouting, angry face screeching about immigrants and cancer and homosexuals. The other, a greasy, creepy man, pointing out the ‘curvaceous’ figure of the newest non-celebrity. Also, what is with the Daily Mail jumping at the NHS with claws at the ready whenever they get the chance? Criticising everything, they do and say. I mean, come on! The NHS needs our support, not to be berated by raging cock-wombles at every turn. I hate it with an almost unbridled passion and that is why I was so happy to stumble across Simpson’s According to the Daily Mail. So, due to recent events in the news print world, it seems all too relevant to write a review of this amusing yarn.
The novel follows Johnathan, a middle-age man, like most, hates the Daily Mail. He, by a series of events comes into a large amount of money. Then he sets out to destroy the Daily Mail, followed swiftly by all the other paper masquerading as ‘news’. What follows is a Benny Hill style caper that forces Johnathan and his cohorts to outwit the police and get away with the crime of the century!
It all sounds a bit twee but honestly it is an enjoyable read! Simpson’s distain for the Daily Mail is evident, and the story is basic in premise. But it didn’t have to be some thinly veiled metaphor about a forest and anthropomorphic creatures conspiring against an especially capricious vole. Simpson has managed to fill this amusing book with a clear, concise message that manages to entertain and at no point feels preachy. Yes, it’s clear that he doesn’t approve of the Daily Mail, but it never feels like he’s ramming “you buy the Mail you are bad” mentality down your throat. Throw in a handful of likeable characters, a satisfying plot arc and a fitting ending and you have a great book.
Let’s not lie to ourselves, According to the Daily Mail isn’t going to win the Pulitzer prize for literature. But, it is well written, funny and is accessible. Some books that try and convey a message hide it behind walls and walls of imagery and metaphor that their ideology can become diluted. Be this because the author wants to flex their writing muscles, or that they are afraid of the repercussions that may arise from making such a bold statement. Simpson is quite happy to walk up and slap down how he feels on the table and doesn’t care who he pisses off. That I admire.
So, if you want an entertaining romp, destroying the British tabloid, then give it a go. You will laugh and you will put it down with a smile on your face. However, if you’re not a fan of satire or you are a diehard Daily Mail fan, then perhaps give this a bit of a wide berth. Thumbs up from me, enjoy with a glass of red wine. Or at a EDL rally.
P.S. Sorry if I went on a bit at the start of this piece!