"Bellybutton: The Source of my Strength" by Daniel Felix
There are numerous reasons why people write books, though generally this infinite number falls within three general categories: pure creative expression; to inform the reader; or, for the author’s own therapy. This appears to have been written predominantly for the latter reason – with perhaps a hint of the second. Just how much of this memoir is true is not clear to me; at the risk of causing offence, I got the impression there was a lot of fantasy on the part of Felix, and I suspect a fair share of projection. His explanation of his many relationships, revolving mainly around that with his daughter, is vastly detailed, but despite this, any self-analysis seems to be little more than superficial. Instead, this extremely long journal doesn’t really delve into any profoundness, but rather just outlines the protagonist’s leisurely escapades and personal life. Most of the final chapter is devoted to Felix’s faith and the scriptures, though this is more by way of explanation than any expression of repentance – don’t get me wrong, it is entirely the business of the author how he lives his life and perceives the events within it, but without any indication of absolution, other than Felix himself, I’m not entirely clear who this book is for.
I’ll be honest, while Felix is a good writer, with an engaging style, his book wasn’t my cup of tea. It did feel a little like being subjected to someone’s life through only their own version of events. I wouldn’t consider it entertainment as such, and it is a good deal longer than I would normally read, considering the genre. I’m also not a fan of the vernacular; despite my own London background, I often find the cocky Cockney narrative a little cringeworthy, and usually a touch crass with the unnecessary cursing. In this particular book, I found the West Indian lingo a little more interesting, but this too did seem somewhat betrayed by the author’s obviously smart grammatical aptitude. That said, on a more practical and perhaps slightly digressing note, this book does need a lot of editing work.
To be frank, faith books are not really my bag, and this one isn’t for me. That doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s a good read, and I’m sure it has its appeal; no doubt there will be those who find the Christian aspect inspiring. I would propose it be trimmed down slightly and cleaned up, with perhaps more focus on the faith than the playboy lifestyle, but that’s just my thought. Nevertheless, I wish the author well, and that he achieves what he hopes to with the book.
In : Book Reviews
Tags: daniel-felix memoir journal faith real-life