So, two years ago, I had the pleasure to read, review, and recommend a book called Randumber by Irish comedian and DJ Mark Hayes. In Randumber, Mark wrote about the experience of being an Irishman in that most American of cities, Los Angeles. He brought a biting but never cruel wit to his examination of American culture and, if my previous review didn’t convince you to order that book, you should do so right now.
As you might guess from the title, PreDumb serves as a prequel to Mark’s life in Los Angeles. I’ve just recently finished reading it and, speaking as someone who is endlessly fascinated by her Irish roots, I absolutely loved it and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Written in an episodic fashion, PreDumb follows Mark’s life from his childhood and adolescence in Ireland to his adventures in Germany and Hong Kong. Each chapter deals with a different topic, covering everything from Mark’s relationship with his family to his first awkward experiences with the opposite sex to the first time he drank booze. There’s also a bit of space devoted to soccer because Mark is Irish, after all.
And that’s one of the main reasons why I enjoyed PreDumb. While the experiences of childhood and adolescence are universal, Mark brings his own uniquely Irish spin to the telling. As Mark writes at the beginning of one chapter, “Ireland is a great place to go if you ever want to hear some made up facts. We are masters of myth.” Myself, I can’t wait until I visit Ireland in person but, having read Predumb, I almost feel as if I’ve already been there.
Mark tells his stories with a gentle humor that’s full of both nostalgia and a very obvious love for the people that he left behind in Ireland when he came out to L.A. The end result is a very likable book, one that celebrates both family and youth. On a personal note, when I first started reading PreDumb, I was actually going through one of my dark moods. Reading the book really helped to lighten my mood, it’s just such a cheerful and heartfelt story that there’s no way that it couldn’t have.
It’s a book that you should read.
You’ll enjoy it, I promise.