Book Reviews – Being With Me Will Help You Learn
From the first to the last, McColl’s poems are engaging, compelling reads – an accolade that can’t often be attributed to entire collections – his subject matter vivid and accessible, his mode of telling refreshing and inventive, and his tone incisive and lively.
McColl’s ability to skewer politics and notions of everyday life, through his injection of (concerningly plausible) farce, is to be admired.
The book is packed full of wonderful, intricate observations of day to day life that sit perfectly alongside mesmerising dystopian mind melters.
This is an unusual collection of poems and short stories in a multitude of voices, laying bare our idiosyncrasies and exposing the bizarre, the pathetic and the often cruel nature of contemporary society.
Thomas McColl’s collection offers a varied and entertaining spread of poems that suggest he’s a keen observer of city life and human interaction…Many of the pieces strike a fine rhythm, which suggests that they not only read well but might be enjoyed even more when heard in performance.
I would heartily recommend McColl’s collection to any type of reader, even if they’re a poetry newbie. The poems and fictions manage to convey intelligent ideas and startling realities in simple, colloquial language, and truly imaginary scenarios. Go on, take a walk through McColl’s collection, and you might learn something.
(McColl) has a unique perspective, that packs punch when observing socially unjust circumstances like in The Chalk Fairy. His target, homelessness and “London’s one big crime scene every single day of the year”. Self effacing, we get to hear about first times, first jobs, first lust. His thoughts on his working life is a scream, his poem Self Discovery gets my biggest giggle. Overall, an eclectic style, often tongue in cheek that connects, many moments of reflection best delivered when the microphone is turned on. There is definitely a lesson or two for all of us here.
Being With Me Will Help You Learn is a splendid assortment of tragicomic poetry that captures modern moments, universal questions and domestic glitches succinctly and without pretence, often through well-crafted and satisfying metaphors.
Reviews of individual stories and poems
‘Shopping With Perseus’ is a hilarious, quirky, deftly-constructed and original piece of flash fiction which I loved the moment I read it. And the ending is a killer.
From a review of Hand Job Zine Issue 9 (abbiefoxton.com)
I adore Thomas McColl’s ‘Smile’, his contribution as sweet as his dial.
From a review of Bare Fiction Magazine Issue 2 (Sabotage Reviews):
…in the fiction section I particularly enjoyed Thomas McColl’s wry look at one of the unfortunate but inescapable realities of publishing in the digital age, ‘The Plagiarist’.
From a review of the Stories for Homes anthology (eightladieswriting.com):
…I especially like Thomas McColl’s ‘The Keys To The House’
From a review of From the Slopes of Olympus to the Banks of the Lea (Londoneer):
Thomas McColl’s deliciously dark story ‘Boris And The Banshees’ about the blonde haired one’s demise at the hands of magical creatures from the marshes around the Olympic Park is particularly impressive.