I don’t read and review enough poetry so when a copy of Just Where You Left It by David Roche dropped into my inbox unexpectedly, I thought I’d dip in straight away.
Just Where You Left It
Just Where You Left It is a collection of humorous poetry about how to survive school, parents and everything else that’s unfair in life.
From David Roche come these simple and charming rhymes designed to make parents and children alike fall in love with poetry again… or maybe for the first time. It all started with a poem about the agony of poetry recitation, written by David for his son.
In fact, all of these poems were written for his three sons, touching on everything they might encounter growing up: exams, school meals, bullying, sports days, embarrassing Dads and nagging and know-it-all Mums were fair game.
These are poems for parents, poems for children and poems for parents to read to their children, offering a witty and charming take on life for every stage of growing up. If you grew up in a world of Ogden Nash and Shel Silverstein, then this is the book for you.
My Review of Just Where You Left It
If at first you don’t succeed keep trying until you win your children’s school poetry reciting competition. Family life laid bare through rhyme!
I’m going to begin by saying that I am not normally a fan of adult rhyming poetry. However, in Just Where You Left It David Roche has produced a wry and witty insight into family life with our reliance on social media, wifi and emojis, and with familiar anxiety dreams, holidays, food and so on.
Before commenting on the poetry, I must just mention the brilliant illustrations from Dave Cormell at the start of each poem. They made me smile before I’d even read the humour in the verses themselves.
Some of the rhymes in Just Where You Left It are almost tortuous at times, adding to the charm of the poems – especially in We Have Ways of Making You Eat where I really enjoyed the homage to Churchill.
My favourite poem was The Poetry Recitation as it took me back to the days of performing at Oundle music and drama festival when I stumbled my way through the Ducks’ Ditty from Wind in the Willows as a nervous 8 year old. It also reminded me of poems I’ve loved and not revisited for far too long. There are many social, historical, literary and political references peppered throughout the collection which adds an extra layer of enjoyment.
I was less keen on Thank You, Baby Boomers as it made me feel quite guilty, being of a certain age! It also made me think and ponder whether David Roche was right in the messages the poem contains.
I think Just Where You Left It will appeal to slightly older readers (like me), more than to youthful ones, as we can all remember the kinds of experiences described and can read this collection with a fond nostalgia that transports us back to our youth. The poems are great fun, highy entertaining and if nothing else, I recommend you follow the advice in The Best Advice!
About David Roche
David Roche was born in London, got a faintly grubby degree in Psychology at Durham University, and then got married far too young. He has been married for 30 years to his Finnish wife and they have 3 sons in their twenties. David has worked, for what seems to him an inordinately long time, as a director of HMV, Waterstones, Borders, Books etc, and also in publishing at HarperCollins. He now lives in Kingston upon Thames and has several roles related to books and writing. This is his first book.
You can follow David on Twitter.