Many thanks to Author Charlie Laidlaw for my copy of this book. I have never read any satire books before so this is my first. But the idea and description of it got me very interested. No-one in the world can avoid knowing about Covid19 right now. I was interested to see how this book would be written. These are my thoughts.
Being Alert begins in January 2020 as the British prime minister, Winston Spragg, first learns about a new illness that seems to be centred in a city in China that nobody has heard of.
Following in a long tradition of British satire, the book populates Downing Street and Whitehall with an inept prime minister presiding over a dysfunctional government as it deals with an existential threat that rapidly becomes a national crisis.
Like satires before it, the book uses humour to paint an uncomfortable picture of a government seemingly as concerned about justifying itself as working to protect the country.
This was a very strange and different book for me to read. I have been regularly watching political updates on Covid19 both for my own country ( UK) and around the world.
The Author wrote this very cleverly to show what has happened but with sensitivity for those that have lost loved ones through this horrible time.
Winston Spragg is the Prime Minister of UK in the book . He has many advisors and each has a similar name to the person he or she could be in reality. It was amusing to read about the ridiculous ways they communicate or lack of, and the jokey way that these ministers are portrayed to be such idiots.
What was most apparent about this book to me is the many bad decisions made by the government at the beginning of this ( from January to April particularly). Yes there were very difficult decisions to make but that is what a government are supposed to do.
There were also parts of the book that taught me a few things about what happened over these months. The Author writes his satirical chapters mostly, but there are a few bits in italics that show things in reality. The statistics are so sad.
For me this book was very close to home and therefore not particularly an escapism book, but a book that shows where we went wrong while giving me many groans of exasperation about what happened.
I suspect that Charlie could write a sequel to this about what happens from here. My hope is this book will be read and enjoyed in the years to come when covid is no longer such a risk and so life changing for us.
About the Author