Number 10 by Sue Townsend

I read this book on a flight (and while stranded at an airport). It was an easy read even under the circumstances. The book is a satire on politics and politicians, very British, and very funny. It follows a week in the life of the British Prime Minister and the sharp policeman accompanying him as the PM (incognito) attempts to reconnect with the common person. The story lays out how different life is for the rich versus middle class versus poor. It is just plain funny most of the times. The author makes the point that the PM is totally out of touch with day-to-day problems in his country (he doesn't know the price of milk), but she overdoes it along the way; one starts expecting something to go horribly wrong in every single incident (waiting in long lines, poor service, you name it), and one is proved right. Barring that one irritation, the book is a good read. Also, the PM is obviously not a bumbling idiot or a scheming politician; he really is a thoughtful man concerned about everyone's welfare. The central as well as peripheral characters are described in much detail. My favorite ended up being Ali, the Pakistani cab driver trying to fit in; his biggest concern is returning home with appropriate presents for his family (what are his children more into, Winnie the Pooh or Noddy?).

So - enjoyable, funny, pretty light reading. Her other books (Adrian Mole) are very good. Number 10 is worth reading because it does make you laugh.


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