Writing a book is bloody difficult. Wander into a library and the sheer volume of them might suggest it’s as easy as sitting in front of a keyboard and flapping your fingers about for a bit; a theory that carries some weight if you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to read a Dan Brown novel; but managing to hold your interest and confidence in an idea for hundreds of hours is really quite a challenge. I’m not even at the end of one paragraph of this yet and I’ve already gone on Twitter twice, stopped for a nice stretch and looked into the fridge for no real reason.
So imagine my surprise when I came home from work last week to discover my nearly six year old daughter had written, illustrated and bound an entire novel within the space of a few hours. I present this powerfully evocative examination of the human condition for your enjoyment below, completely unedited.
I do feel the need to point out that despite my customary pissy tone, I’m very proud of what she has managed to achieve here considering she has only just finished reception. It’s more coherent than some of the stuff I see from grown-ups and she’s at least attempting punctuation. Also, I think the publishing process may have put the pages out of sequence which accounts for the unusual numbering of the chapters.
All that considered, it is also pretty fucking funny. So get yourself an Ovaltine, set your jaws to drop and strap yourself in for some hardcore jackanory.
This, Dear Reader, is “Rig Roby Rig Roll”
Rig and Rob wer a bruver and sister thay wer number 1 meen number 2 didnx go xo school number 3 laysay wen it was Rob’s birthday rig sed wen is it my birthday 6 day’s sed Mum but that’s ages sad rig i wont it now sed Rig now now now
They always say that you should open with a strong first sentence and she’s totally nailed it. They do sound like a challenging pair. Coincidentally, my daughter’s birthday is exactly six days after her brothers. Funny that.
Wen it was Rig’s birthday she laughed at Rob. Rob told Mum he shouted mum mum mum. Yes sed Mum what sed Mum what happened sed mum Rig laughed at me Ok sed Mum
Clearly drawing on her own bitter experience of a thoughtless, uncaring mother. The lack of discipline handed out for the heinous crime of laughing at you on your birthday surely explains why these children are so meen and laysay.
On Monday it was Dad’s berthday. He got a videogaem. thank you I love it.
The birthday is a reoccurring motif. A day of celebration but also a milestone on the unstoppable march to the grave. I like what she’s saying here.
Chapper 3 I mis mum wers mum sed Rob evrthin went blak mum mum mum MUM evryone cried mum.
Chapderder 2 Berthday fiet everyone was faeitoin with berthday evnn Mum
Here we see the first signs of her rejecting traditional narrative structure by returning to chapderder 2 after leaping to chapper 3. Are chappers and chapderders even on the same timeline? It’s like freeform jazz prose. Love it.
Chapper 5 the tv Mum the tv’s broakn sed Brook ther cat not agen sed Mum
Yeah, they’ve got a talking cat that repeatedly breaks the television. What, doesn’t that fit into your preconceived notions of where this story is going? Open your mind, squares.
Chapper 4 Hears Mum mum was sat on the couch ther you RA MUM
Emphasis is her own. I like to think this is her own version of the bit in The Shining when Jack sticks his head through the bathroom door.
the next day saly and Rig went to scoll Rob went to nersry thay love it Rob made cakes wen Rob got home he playd a gaem
After all those birthdays, that time when everything went black and the whole cat chat saga, no wonder they yearn for the structure that school or nursery can provide.
Chapder 8 plarnt’s Mum groad plarnt’s lots of them she love’s plarnt’s and cakes she loves trees too
“Right”, the reader thinks, “this chapter is about the mother’s love of gardening. Woah where did that cake come from? Then BANG back to gardening. This shit could go anywhere!”
Chapder 6 Saly Saly is not Rob’s frend bcos she is 10 Rob is 3 and Rig’s 7 it was niet tiem stars lit the scei
Blimey. A rather beautiful non sequitur after a challenging discussion of pre-teen social structure. Powerful stuff.
Chapder 7 mr tedy Rob has toi’s lots of them he had a tedy and robot and a rockit and crayons and a scuishy strobry
You kids with your YouTube stars and your overripe fruit. I can’t keep up with what’s popular these days.
Chapder 10 the zoo Rob and Rig got a treet thaay got to go to the zoo yae sed Rob I love the zoo let’s go now
I admire the dash of autobiographical realism she has injected into the characters of Rig and Rob. My children also seem to believe I have control over the speed at which time passes so it’s good to see art imitating life.
Chapder P meeny’s meen is not nies liek Saly and Rig thay ar meen meen meen thay ar not nies or fun not funy thay ar meen meen meen
I do think that perhaps Meeny’s parents should have given the name a bit more thought. Self-fulfilling prophecy and all that.
Chapder 11 the vegees vevery one needs vegees you need veg liek this this this this and this and this this and this
This reminds me of the bits in American Psycho when Patrick talks in length about Huey Lewis and The News. Although the importance of a well-balanced diet can not be understated, I think where this fits in with the story of Rig Roby Rig Roll is up for debate.
Chapder 12 Spaes 1 day Rob went in a rockit one day Dad wood be with him
Has Rob literally gone on a trip to space? Or is he dead? The second interpretation certainly gives the Dad line a menacing air.
Chapder 13 Bob and Bily Bob Bily Bob love’s this Bily loves this.
We’re approaching the conclusion and she’s still introducing whole new waves of characters showing a real level of respect for the reader. It’s like The Wire.
Chapder 14 Cake Rig love’s cake Rob love’s cake ginger loves this Scrap loves you
And again. Who are Ginger and Scrap? And is she addressing the reader directly there? Is the author Scrap? Didn’t Mum like cake? HOLD THE PHONE! Are Mum, Scrap and the author one and the same?!?!
Chapder 16 Dad Dad is magik he is brilyntly slow
Imagine returning from a hard day at the office to find that your beautiful child has written this magnificent novel; with a whole chapter dedicated to you; then just at the point when you think your heart might burst from your chest with pride she hits you with the most insulting compliment ever committed to print. “Brilliantly slow”; at least I’ve got the wording for my gravestone sorted.
Chapder 15 cat’s smal big we love cats that ar cyoot
I’m kind of distracted now if I’m honest. Slow how?
Chapder 17 buy we sad bie buy buy buy buy
Yeah bye, you cheeky sod.