Susan Midalia's Review
Many of us could use a laugh right now, and Australian writer Robert Skinner’s memoir is just the shot. As its title suggests, I’d Rather Not is written by a reluctant participant in life: often unemployed, sometimes homeless but also a lover of books and raucous parties, Skinner has a gift for droll humour, sardonic asides and laugh-out-loud hilarity. I haven’t enjoyed a book so much for quite some time. The chapter on his experience as a victim of Robodebt is alone worth the price of the book: it’s a delightfully venomous account of the absurdity and heartlessness of a scheme that destroyed the mental health, in some cases the lives, of vulnerable people. Throughout the book, Skinner is a sharp-eyed, sometimes caustic, sometimes bewildered observer of both the mundane and monumental aspects of his life. Highly recommended.
From one of Australia's most wryly funny writers comes an original and utterly hilarious memoir of reaching for the stars while lying in a ditch.
I was sleeping in what might reasonably be described as a ditch, though I tried not to think of it in those terms for morale reasons . . .
Robert Skinner arrives in the city, searching for a richer life. Things begin badly and then, surprisingly, get slightly worse. Pretty soon he's sleeping rough and trying to run a literary magazine out of a dog park. His quest for meaning keeps being thwarted, by endless jobs, beagles, house parties, ill-advised love affairs, camel trips and bureaucratic entanglements.
Sometimes a book catches the spirit of the times. I'd Rather Not is about work, escape and that something more we all need.
'This book is like a big, properly made gin and tonic drunk outside in a garden on a perfect Saturday afternoon.' -Cate Kennedy, author of The World Beneath and Like a House on Fire
'No one writes better when the stakes are lower.' -Sam Vincent, author of My Father and Other Animals
'My heart leaps whenever I see Robert Skinner's by-line; I know I am in for a hilarious literary treat complete with wry pearlers, gallows truths and wicked timing. People will say he is Australia's Sedaris, but he's not. He's Robert Skinner and he's a bloody marvel.' -Anna Krien, author of Night Games and Act of Grace
'A funny and affecting celebration of the glorious choices we so often have about where to go and how to get there.' -Jim Shepard, author of The Book of Aron and Phase Six
'I was told this man came from the Adelaide Plains and so commenced to read his work. By the time I realised I'd been viciously misled and he actually grew up in Magill, it was too late. I was already completely in love with the book. It's an absolute bag of lollies.' -Annabel Crabb
'Robert Skinner writes with humour, intelligence and heart. Pick up this book and you may never put it down.' -Tony Birch