What began as a one-off offshoot from the now-extended Eviscerated Panda “trilogy”, Cleo Howard’s diary has also just hit its third volume. Focussing, as the title suggests, on the pre-Millennium year of 1999 it’s another year in the life of the red-headed Reading-based metalhead.
I do often wonder how much of these diaries are biographical as the author is about the right age, geographic location and hair colour to be Cleo’s sister if not the girl herself! As with the other volumes, I do get the feeling that they’re likely to appeal more to the female reader – dealing as they do with “girl issues”, but the metalhead in me remembers and recognises so many of the other situations that Cleo goes through.
As ever, the author has included many real-life events on their correct dates such as concerts and album releases. Heck, she’s had me digging back through my collection to listen to some music I’d forgotten about! Type O Negative are getting another spin as a result.
It’s interesting to get a female viewpoint of a time period I went through at a similar age (Cleo’s 17 in the book, I was 23 going on 16) and it’s the trip down memory lane that mainly gets me coming back to these books. Cleo’s definitely getting a little older and wiser now, but still has an edge of immaturity that I bet she doesn’t realise is there.
With comments and opinion on music, school, home life and her sadness over the death of her father, fans of the previous two volumes know what to expect. There’s not as much humour as I found in the first two, though Cleo is changing which makes sense. She’s more thoughtful, more worried as large decisions start to loom – such as what to do when she leaves school and how to handle her ongoing relationship should she have to leave Reading.
It’s a good and quick read. Ideal for busy folk like me as there are naturally 28-31 chapter breaks per month so it’s easy to squeeze in a quick read here and there!
Next on my pile is Eviscerated Panda 4…
Header photo credit: Bernie Galewski