About a month and a half ago I was sent The Lockdown Diary of Tom Cooper by Spencer Brown. Although I did not pay for the book, I was under no obligation to write about it.
The book follows the life in lockdown of Tom Cooper. He’s navigating working from home while simultaneously educating and looking after his two young children, Arthur and Carrie.
The Lockdown Diary of Tom Cooper begins with an exchange between Tom and his daughter Carrie. Carrie is worried that Tom will die of the “bad disease”, and how she will then reach the cereal if he wasn’t around. Although humorous, Tom then considers what would really happen, and it does bring to light how alone he feels in lockdown being responsible for two young children. His ex-wife is stranded in Canada, so Tom is the only one who can be relied upon. He then Skypes his best friend Mark. Who although lives with his wife and young daughter, has other concerns and is worried about how lockdown is taking its toll on their marriage.
One theme in the book is how how lockdown has affected people differently. From the strain it put on Mark’s marriage, to how Tom’s mother is unable to attend her usual gym classes. Tom navigates awkward Zoom calls, confrontational shoppers who accuse him of “hoarding”, disastrous home hair dye attempts and judgemental neighbours. He’s also trying to maintain a budding romantic relationship with Amanda, who is being held hostage by her parents.
The Lockdown of Tom Cooper – My Thoughts
Some parts of the book were laugh out loud funny. I was reading it on my lunch break in a coffee shop and I was cackling to myself! My favourite parts were when Tom launches a rat at a neighbour’s house which hits the window and when he was roped into an exercise session by his neighbour, which ends up with him working out to ABBA’s Dancing Queen in the street.
Tom’s internal monologue is witty and as lockdown is something many of us have experienced, it is completely relatable. The characters are believable and diverse, and highlight how different people cope with lockdown depending on their means. From the other school parents who are wealthy enough to have nannies to look after their children, to Tom who is worrying how he will pay rent if he is furloughed.
Zoom malfunctions, creating makeshift face masks out of carrier bags, the trials and tribulations of homeschooling and the stress of booking a food delivery slot when you’re down to your last loo roll, this book has every aspect of lockdown covered.
I’d definitely recommend it for someone who wants to enjoy a lighthearted read on a topic that has affected us all. Because if you can’t laugh you might cry.