“The Most Boring book ever written“, by Rudolf Kerkhoven and Daniel Pitts is a comedic CYOA style gamebook, with a very unique title, and an even stranger synopsis:
BUYER BEWARE! Do not purchase this novella if you seek any of the following:
- a plot
- interesting dialogue
- underlying meaning
- character development
- action and/or adventure
- exploration of the human condition
- a point
It is simply the most boring book ever written.
It tells the story of a former fighter pilot who fought in Afghanistan, Kosovo and both Iraqui wars, but now lives a peaceful life as a commercial pilot for a mid-sized airline. We are going to take the role of this guy at a very uninteresting moment in his life; the moment of waking up and going out to work at the airport. When we see that the first choice we have is to “hit the snooze button” or to “turn off the alarm“, and after that, when we discover that the rest of the choices are things like “using hair conditioner“, “wearing a grey tie or a charcoal one” or “buying a tuna sandwich“, we see what the authors intend with this story: to describe real life at its dullest.
If that were the only thing there was to this book I wouldn’t be reviewing it, of course. While we take these completely inconsequential choices, we get a very good picture of this guy: an above middle-class american, living inside a bubble of consumerism, obsessed with appearances and with little to none interest in the affairs of the world around him. A brutal depiction of the self-absorbed US middle-upper class.
In spite of its title, it is not a boring book at all. It can be really funny to follow this guy’s trivial dilemmas. We will never empathize with him, but that’s completely sought after. We will just laugh with his obsession with 7-up or the absurdity of his “problems”.
There is a really long-winded and absolutely hillarious scene where he spends a good number of pages buying a tuna sandwich. And even more interesting than that: what happens at the end of that scene gives a completely new meaning to the whole story. The authors lied; there is a point to this novella. A subtle but harsh criticism of the United States, their “American dream” and the false sense of security that got so severely compromised after 2001.