Wrapped in Quotations

One Gay Guy's Commonplace Book

Fiction - General
153 Pages
Reviewed on 09/15/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Wrapped in Quotations: One Gay Guy's Commonplace Book by Tom Beattie is a collection work by the self-described “quotophile”. The anthology has stories of different lengths, primarily flash fiction, with several that are lyrical and wonderfully poetic. Each piece revolves around a quote or ten, bouncing from one to the next with intermissions in the form of brief notes and humorous morsels delivered in bite-sized prose. The highlights for me are a copy of an award Beattie won in 1963 from his local library, Marie Antoinette's fateful cake proclamation and the possible involvement of nefarious snack food companies, a flash fiction called Deep State about a grabby president, and conspiracies surrounding an alternative noun for cat, and a touching reflection on a quote from a friend in his high school yearbook.

Tom Beattie lets his wit shine through in Wrapped in Quotations, penning with such badinage that I kept reading bits out loud to my husband, who was impressed, and my teen daughter, who was pretending to be totally unimpressed but really was. Where a lot of the pieces are sprinkled with humor and have an air of levity, others are more serious, addressing issues of the past and those that are threatening at this very moment. Beattie carves out a few pages for COVID-19, with a genuinely empathetic message to readers during a difficult time. A connection is made between the disregard for the 99% in a Dickensian world, and the stranger, sadder than fiction disconnect that still happens today. I want to say that this is the type of book that someone would keep next to the toilet for important private reading, but it's just too good for that. This book definitely, definitely deserves a spot in the drawer of my nightstand so I may too have “a shot at mega profunditude," even if it's all sparked by Beattie's work.

Soumya Sreehari

As the title suggests, Tom Beattie’s Wrapped in Quotations is a journey with quotations. A self-proclaimed ‘quotophile’, Tom has put his obsession with quotes to good use. Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen, Dickens – Tom quotes these and many more. The quotes inspire interpretations, re-imaginings, life lessons, and humorous interludes. Wrapped in Quotations is a collection of writings that takes one on a journey into the author’s mind. Some stories are real-life experiences, some stories are fictional – all of them however are unconventional and offbeat. Charlotte Bronte becomes ‘Charl’, Sherlock Holmes becomes a fan – each chapter gives one something to think about. There are numerous ‘what if’ scenarios sprinkled generously across the book. Tom Beattie tickles the brain with his peculiar sense of humor.

How do you write an interesting book about quotations? Elementary, my dear Watson! Ask Tom Beattie to write it. Tom Beattie’s Wrapped in Quotations is a quirky and intriguing read. The title triggered me to pick it up. I was not disappointed. This book is not a conventional read at all. It tickled my funny bones and gave me fresh perspectives into many familiar works. Tom’s writing style is not something I am used to. So, it was a new experience, laughing on one page and thrown into deep thought on the next. His creative stories with some beloved fictional characters are well imagined. I liked some, I found some over the top – they were all unorthodox for sure. I liked Wrapped in Quotations solely because of the jolt it gave me from my usual reading fare.

Erin Nicole Cochran

Tom Beattie’s Wrapped in Quotations: One Gay Guy’s Commonplace Book is not so “commonplace.” Beattie has a literary wildness style of writing that has a way of winding its way around the reader. Telling you to 'think how I think, know what I know'. And it’s a more than pleasurable place to be; that place where Beattie resides. The Quoteland. The wildness I speak of I can compare to one of my all-time favorite short stories written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper. Both have a lovable flavor. Snippets of classic characters and imagined conversations add a layer of extra brilliance and devilish humor to the quotes that Beattie unleashes upon us.

Wrapped in Quotations: One Gay Guy’s Commonplace Book by Tom Beattie takes us on a road trip. It’s long, but somehow still not long enough. I wanted to keep reading and reading. There are excerpts where you feel you are in control of what is taking place, but you eventually discover that you aren’t where you thought you were. Instead of being upset or sitting in a blank state of utter confusion, you pull away with the feeling of being sublimely entertained. The uncommon place of it. I have never stumbled so entirely into anything quite like this, and it is a refreshing stumble. Imagine Saturday Night Live, but the characters are played by the characters in books or sometimes by real historical figures through time. There are unexpected gems buried in the pages that feel less skit-like and more day to day tragic. So, it is not all laughs from page one to the end. Do not miss out on this book. Feel free to quote me on that.