Who is Tom Ditto? by Danny Wallace
Opening sentence: “The evening of June the 12th was unusual for many reasons in the end, of course, but it was unusual mostly because the evening of June the 12th was the evening my girlfriend did not leave me.”
This was an impulse library pick up that I’m so glad caught my eye. It’s my first book by Danny Wallace, I had heard of him through his association with comedian and TV presenter Dave Gorman. (Danny drunkenly challenged his then-flatmate Dave to find 54 men also called Dave Gorman. This became a hilarious show and book – Are you Dave Gorman? – documenting their attempt to find all the Daves.)
So, yes, drawn in by the author, I then loved the premise for this novel – Tom’s girlfriend hasn’t left him, but she is gone. Where is she gone? Why has she gone? The tracks are laid for a good little mystery story (which I always enjoy), throw in a mix of unusual characters and a concept haven’t come across before, and it’s (for me) an ideal literary blend.
Tom is a newsreader on Talk London radio, he lives in Stoke Newington with his girlfriend, Hayley, and thought all was well in their relationship until one day she left him a note saying that she hasn’t left him, but she has gone and he should just continue on with life as normal. Obviously, this is impossible for him to do, so he starts to dig and discovers she secretly attended an unusual support group, not one that he’d ever heard of before.
He finds a group of people who meet to discuss their shared love of… following people. Yep, they pick a person at random that looks interesting and follow them for a day or a week, however long takes their fancy. They go where they go, eat what they eat, even wear what they wear, depending on how far they want to take it. Initially Tom (as you are probably thinking) finds this whole thing weird, he had no idea his girlfriend was doing this. He questions if he ever really knew her at all. But while trying to find out more, he’s inadvertently drawn into the following concept by Pia, one of the members of the group who befriends (follows) him and he starts to look at things a little differently.
Tom is a really likeable, realistic character, he has his issues and is thrown by the current crazy situation he finds himself in, but you care about him and want him to find out exactly where Hayley has gone.
I laughed a lot reading this, it’s a funny, original read, something a little unique that’s well worth adding to you TBR list.