At the end of last month, I talked about how Noah Can’t Even, Simon James Green’s debut, was coming out earlier this month. Since then, I’ve read it and it was absolutely hilarious – if you’re looking for something to lift your mood or bring on some laughter, I would definitely recommend this book! I’m really excited to be participating today in the blog tour for this book today, with a guest post from Simon.
Here’s the blurb and cover first:
Poor Noah Grimes! His father disappeared years ago, his mother’s Beyonce tribute act is an unacceptable embarrassment, and his beloved gran is no longer herself. He only has one friend, Harry, and school is…Well, it’s pure HELL. Why can’t Noah be normal, like everyone else at school? Maybe if he struck up a romantic relationship with someone – maybe Sophie, who is perfect and lovely – he’d be seen in a different light? But Noah’s plans are derailed when Harry kisses him at a party. That’s when things go from bad to utter chaos.
The Mortifying & Humiliating Teenage Life of Simon James Green (But at least I got a novel out of it!)
To put this context, you need to understand that a large part of teenage me was a lot like Noah. I was a total goody-two-shoes, whose worst nightmare was upsetting a teacher, appearing anything less than dignified and intelligent, or not being considered suitable material for Head Boy. So, with that in mind, here are my top embarrassing moments…
- I was thirteen and had been forced to do the high jump at sports day. It turns out that if you wear loose fitting boxers under your PE shorts, certain boy-based parts of your anatomy can come free and be revealed to the Year 10 girls who are doing the judging. Hideous.
- Me and a group of like-minded geeky friends self-appointed ourselves as the ‘school council’. No one voted for us or anything, we just did it. At our first meeting we decided it was ‘disgusting’ that some students were smoking behind the sports hall at lunchtime, so we wrote a letter outlining our concerns to the local paper. The letter appeared on the front page in the next issue, as the main feature. The school was livid and said we should have told our concerns to them first, not the local paper. They had a point.
- In a similar vein, I rather grandly wrote a column in the termly school newspaper. In one issue, I described the school Christmas carol concert as a ‘farce’. After said concert that year, the headmaster came up to me. “Well, Simon,” he said, “no-one fell over and no-one dropped their trousers… not much of a farce, was it?” Mortified. Made worse by the fact he had clearly prepared that little speech and must have thought I was a right little pompous fool.
- Got a nosebleed in PSHE. Everyone said it was because I was over-excited because I was ‘thinking about sex.’ BUT I WASN’T! Then, whenever I got a nosebleed in the future, this one kid always piped up “Hey! Simon’s thinking about sex!” Something that was only true fifty per cent of the time. Very unfair.
- Some bigger boys said the only reason they threw me across the field was because I was so skinny they mistook me for a javelin.
- Got drunk on martini and lemonade at a Sixth Form party and everyone surrounded me in a circle, clapping and laughing whilst I danced and gyrated in the middle to the popular music of the era, like some performing monkey.
- Later that night I was fantastically sick outside, and had to be sobered up by some lads in the Upper Sixth, whilst I started crying, lamenting the fact that “I wouldn’t be Head Boy if anyone found out about this.”
I mean, I could go on, but some of these just aren’t fit to be put online. I hope this gives you an idea of how my life inspired Noah Can’t Even. The great thing is, it’s all material. So the next time you find yourself red-faced and mortified, ask yourself: could this be a book?
Simon James Green grew up in a small town in Lincolnshire that definitely wasn’t the inspiration for Little Fobbing – so no-one from there can be mad with him, OK? He enjoyed a classic British education of assorted humiliations and barbaric PE lessons before reading Law at Queens’ College, Cambridge, where he further embarrassed himself by accidentally joining the rowing team despite having no upper body strength and not being able swim. When it turned out that being a lawyer was nothing like how it looks in Suits or The Good Wife, and buoyed by the success of his late night comedy show that involved an inflatable sheep, he travelled to London to pursue a glamorous career in show business. Within weeks he was working in a call centre, had been mugged, and had racked up thousands of pounds worth of debt. Finding strength and inspiration in the lyrics of Tubthumping by Chumbawumba, he eventually ended up working on a range of West End shows and UK tours, co-wrote a feature-length rom-com for the BBC and directed Hollyoaks for C4 / Lime Pictures. After trying really, really hard, he also managed to write Noah Can’t Even. If you are interested in stalking him, he still lives in London, where he spends a lot of time telling people that Noah Can’t Even is only partly autobiographical, and his mum has definitely never done a Beyoncé tribute act.
Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the tour!