Sunday, April 3, 2016

A Dog Eat Dog Food World by C. Suresh : A Review


BOOK TITLE: A Dog Eat Dog Food World

ISBN/ASIN: 978-9384315030

AUTHOR: C. Suresh

GENRE: Fiction / Humour / Satire

NUMBER OF PAGES: 94

FORMAT: Digital

SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: The author sent me a kindle copy, and I profusely thank him for it.

SUMMARY:

A hilarious pseudo-history of marketing management, which explicitly denies resemblance to any actual history, and which will be horrified if some semblance be found. The story of a man who discovered that the path of life is strewn with treadmills and, if you get on one by mistake, you could keep running all your life to stay in the same place. The story of how a businessman may just be minding his...err...business and the 'Invisible Hand' can cause unexpected consequences to arise out of his innocent actions. There is no point blaming the tale for being exaggerated because that is precisely what it seeks to be - an 'exaggeratio ad absurdum' of some facets of the world. Anything you learn from the book - be it the basics of marketing management or a satirical view of Society - you do at your own risk. The tale only dogs the doings of Spike Fortune who only sought to feed dogs and, later, sought more dogs to feed. Jerry Fortune who, being fortuneless, gets dragged helter-skelter behind his uncle Spike in the latter's careening pursuit of commercial success and gets sandwiched between Spike and Tyke who was Spike's resident genius on enticing dogs with their wares. He also has to help Spike in his rivalry with Tom Rich, who is unwillingly dragged into upstaging Spike and tries to do it by teasing the palates of cats, helped by the bumbling efforts of Jasper Rich who would rather be partying than chasing cats with cat-foods.

FIRST IMPRESSION:

No matter how much I say I don't judge a book by its cover, I always look at how well it fits with the story. If a cover is intriguing enough, I pick it up and flip it over to read the blurb. But then, the blurb caught my attention too. When was the last time I saw a comic strip, a meaningful one at that, on the cover? The dialog bubbles conveyed everything I needed to know right then, and the confused 'human' standing there reflected many, if not all, of those poor souls who have no idea why they are doing whatever it is that they are doing.

A book with an amusing title and grin worthy summary that claimed to be satire, and one that had an awesome cover? I was all set!

REVIEW:

Some books come along, rarely, very rarely, to increase your hopes that one day, the literary world would create, enjoy and cherish more such works. There are writers, then there are authors, there are favorites, and one among them is C. Suresh, after I have read this book. A Dog Eat Dog Food World, the name by itself being a twisted version of a much more famous saying (one that people keep repeating without much of an idea of what it actually means) confused me initially. But once I had read the first few pages and gotten the hang of the story, and the author's style of writing, it began to make perfect sense.

There are dogs, and a dog food industry is created. There are cats, and a cat food industry is created. Marketing agents who find innovative ways to sell to people what they never needed, misled consumers who are swayed by words and trends rather than quality and need, and bored but egoistically clueless businessmen who set rules complete the picture. The book easily uses this simple scenario to explain, in detail, various 'marketing and industry milestones' that we would have otherwise read about only in boring annual reports and guide books of marketing consultants. Or perhaps one of the 'marketing made easy' or 'marketing for dummies' or probably the 'buy this book now to know why you should never do what others ask you to do' kind of manuals that would simplify marketing in easy to read hyphenated 43 letter words that would keep you so busy in memorising the abbreviations and combinations so you effectively forget the meaning - which was the initial purpose anyway.

If you read the book as one about dogs and dog foods and cats and cat food, the underlying subtle humour goes right over your head. But if you keep aside the pet food rambling, and instead focus upon how this book clearly uses that cover up story to carefully construct the underlying concept, you will gain lessons for life. Pseudo history - semi fiction. It talks about real life concepts using a fictional example. This book could either give you hours of enjoyment and days of introspection, or clueless frustration based upon how you understand it. The book expects its readers to quit focusing on the superficial and instead get to the concept conveyed, which is a high bar considering its counterparts in the industry.

Why would anyone read a book that takes satire to a whole new level and require concentration and understanding while there are other books out there, other 'entertaining' ones, vying for attention? Well, who would? Anyone in their right mind would. Anyone who is on the lookout for subtle humour and lack of crass jokes to induce laughs would pick this book up. You don't even need to be a marketing professional. This book is for everyone. No. I rephrase. This book is for everyone who can differentiate satire and sarcasm, This book is for everyone who has been waiting for a meaningful book that entertains and educates them. The reader's enjoyment of the book completely depends upon which type of humour they like. One that gives a few momentary hearty laughs and is gone like water through a sieve at the end of the day, or one that gives many reasons to grin, laugh, chuckle, chortle, snort, guffaw and gives a lot of content to take back and chew upon. 

Kudos to the author for trying this genre. There aren't many books in the humour category that makes us think and reflect too. I also appreciate his usage of dogs and cats. And I extend my best wishes for this book to gain name and fame beyond Jambudweepam and Bharata Khanda - something it is already in the process of doing. Because the language and the concept are both universal.

Here are a few gems I would forever remember.

On the Doctor treating the patient and telling him to divert his mind elsewhere

It is a boon, sometimes, that the future is veiled from us. The fact that he had set into motion the wheels that would overturn the world would not have weighed so hard on his mind, even had he known of it. How true it is that we are able to bear the misfortunes of other people with unbelievable fortitude!

On young Jerry Fortune:

When Fate is sneaking behind you and taking aim at the back of your head with a sandbag, it stealthily ensures that no cloud mars your horizon to warn you of danger.

On Jerry Fortune's surprise at seeing his uncle up and walking

...the sight was much like seeing the reclining Venus uproot herself from a Botticelli painting and start preparations for running a marathon.

On Spike Fortune up and walking

“Jerry! Jerry! Jerry! Come! Come! Come!” said Spike. A whirling dervish equipped with an in-built echo!

On life

It is amazing how much the way the world looks depends upon the mood of the viewer.

On Jerry getting his idea about dog food:

Jerry had struck upon the most important management lesson – that the appearance of effort was more important than effort.

On friends goading to make a man enter into competition

having friends, who were too loyal, was more of a problem than having enemies.

It was impossible to live life the way you want to, when you have concerned friends and disdainful foes both pushing you in the same direction.

A descriptive piece that made me laugh

hopping and cursing in language unfit for mixed company, and the ‘foot-rug’ emitting blood-curdling battle cries, it was some time before normalcy was established.

A quote that had so many underlying meanings

Oh! Ye of little faith! Having seen but the sapling that sprouted from the acorn, you dare question the mightiness of the oak that shall result?

People willingly pay for wisdom when they would only sneer at common sense.

And saving the best for the last

The invisible hand has writ and, having writ, moved on.

WHAT I LIKED:

  • The author receives my special applause for trying a book in this genre
  • This book helped me, in many ways, amidst hearty grins, to learn about how business and marketing evolved
  • Pseudo history is what everyone needs - to be taken with a pinch of humour here and there
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER:

  • Maybe the standard of humour was too high?
  • It might offend those it is obviously directed at. That not being the intent / purpose.
  • A lot of people might give up at the beginning, not quite able to understand 'all the fuss over dogs and cats'
VERDICT:

One book that has given me hope that the art of writing books, in humour, is not dead. Looking forward to reading more and more of the author's word

RATING: 5/5 A Well deserved 5, that makes me yearn for more such books to be written.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Fiction has been an addiction but the need to make a living took Suresh through Chemical Engineering and a PGDM at IIM-Bangalore and, from thence, to a long 16 year stint in the area of finance with specific expertise in fertilizer subsidies and a further two years as consulting expert in the same area. That, in his words, about sums up the boring part of his life, except for the people he was privileged to meet.

Otherwise, he can be described as a mess of contradictions – a bookworm but avid trekker; alone but never lonely; enjoys solitude but loves company; lazy but a perfectionist, the litany is endless. Trekking, which side-tracked him from the writing for which he quit his job, is a major passion and he does, at least, one trek in the Himalayas every year in addition to numerous local treks.

He reignited his passion for writing with a fairly popular blog www.jambudweepam.blogspot.in. The blog has been rated among the Top 5 humour blogs in India, twice in succession - in 2014 and 2015 - by BlogAdda, and has also been listed third among the Top Humour Blogs by Baggout.

He also has a short story published in a collection “Uff Ye Emotions” and has edited and written a novelette in an ebook anthology “Sirens spell danger”

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Kindle, Paperback.

PRICE Rs. 150 for Paperback, Free on Kindle Unlimited

BOOK LINKS: Amazon

3 comments:

  1. When you set out to write satire, you are wrestling all the while about whether anyone would 'get' it. A satire, using parody, will not appeal, by definition, for someone who skim-reads his books - for the humor will lie more in making the connections than on the surface. So, yes, the bar WILL be high :)

    I am blessed that this book has found readers like you, for whom a book is not merely an alternative for 'Candy Crush' :)

    Thanks, Dhivya!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will enjoy this book no matter how many times I read it. The world needs more such books, at least for the dying breed of readers who relish in satire.

      Thank YOU for writing such a book! :)

      Delete
  2. Beautiful review. Enjoyed reading it Divya. :)

    ReplyDelete

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