*I received a free ARC of this book, with thanks to the author, Amazon Publishing and NetGalley. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: From bestselling author Nick Spalding comes a hilarious, uplifting story about one man’s attempt to live a tech free life.
Andy Bellows is in a right state. Plagued with insomnia, anxiety and neckache, he’s convinced there’s something seriously wrong with him. And the worst thing is that his doctor agrees. The diagnosis: Andy is in the grip of a self-destructive addiction to technology—he just cannot put that bloody mobile phone down.
Texting, tweeting, gaming and online dating—technology rules Andy’s life. His phone even monitors his bowel movements. So how will he cope when he’s forced to follow doctor’s orders and step away from all of his beloved screens?
When he loses his precious digital window on the world, Andy discovers just how bewildering and scary living an analogue life can be. And when his sixty-day detox hits the headlines—making him a hero to suffering technophiles everywhere—Andy is sorely tempted to pack it all in and escape in the nearest Uber.
Can he get himself out of this mess, and work out how to live a better, technologically balanced life…without consulting Google even once?
Logging Off is, on the surface, a light-hearted romcom about a man detoxing from the online world and finding love, laughs and friendship in the real world outside. There is plenty of truth and food for thought hidden under the jokes about bowel movements and blind dates.
Andy, the first-person narrator, is adorable. Not only is his tech addiction (and hypochondria) eminently relatable, but so is his narrative voice – witty, wry, self-deprecating and full of the charming, hopeless helplessness exuded by Brits like Hugh Grant and (the fictional character, portrayed so well by Renee Zellweger) Bridget Jones in romcoms. Reading his story feels like having an intimate chat with your best mate; the one that can narrate their woes in a way that has you howling with laughter, even as you sympathise.
His ‘journey’ of giving up technology for a couple of months is made far more believable because the author doesn’t just show us a one-sided, Internet-is-evil argument. Instead we see that some of Andy’s trials are caused by the Internet, but just as many are caused by lack of it. It is a more nuanced take than I had expected from the tongue-in-cheek tone, and made me think about the issue much more deeply than a preachier take on the subject would have achieved.
Plus, Andy just doesn’t come across as the lecturing type. If anything, he’s more like Brian from Monty Python’s famous satire, trying to tell everyone to stop following him and think for themselves, with about the same effect for the most part!
A few of the side characters are just cyphers – the Instagram star, the conspiracy theorist – but the ones that got more than a bit part, like Grace, Fergus, Colin, Wilberforce and Puggerlugs are all great too… very memorable.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun, easy read, with some romance, some laughs and some interesting takeaways about finding your own individual balance.
I’ve spent the morning googling digital detoxes to see if anyone can give me any advice that can help me.
The Internet is full of conflicting reports on their effectiveness. Some people swear by them, some people think they are the work of the devil.
This is no surprise.
I’ve already proved that one of the laws of the Internet is if you punch a load of symptoms into a search engine, it gets you diagnosed with terminal cancer every single time. Another law is that if you seek an opinion on a subject matter – any subject you like – you will get as much fulsome support for it as you do harsh criticism.
– Nick Spalding, Logging Off
Find more from Nick Spalding at his website here, or follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.
Logging Off is available on Amazon right now!