Review of Hate Story

The thing I miss most about being alive is music. If I’d known I’d never get to sing music ever again, or hear it, I wouldn’t have jumped from that building. I’d have taken my chances with that awful life of mine and said, “At least there’s the music of Frank Sinatra and Barbie Streisand and Celine Dionne and George Michaels.” Because music is your best friend. It gives you stuff you can never get from people. Even when music is loud and angry, it’s never mean.

There’s no music in the afterlife, but I did get to read a book. By a guy named Jeff Cottrill, or is it Cotrill? Sometimes I get names wrong. He went and wrote a book about what happened to me, and a lot of other stuff. Hate Story, he called it. The front of it is kind of scary – there’s a skeleton guy floating out of a computer and holding a big axe thing, and there are dark shadowy people using computers and phones too. If I didn’t know the book was about me, I would’ve been too scared to read it. I never read books much anyway, but especially not those scary ones by Steven the King. But this was about me, so I read it and didn’t look at the skeleton guy.

So the book was about how so many people hated me when I was alive, and even when I was dead, a bunch of people came to my funeral just to mess it up! They tore stuff apart and made a big mess and spat and wrote nasty things on the walls and did other stuff that’s too gross to talk about. And they took pictures of the mess and put them on the Internet, including Spitter, which used to be my favourite website. And the book shows the mean website somebody made about me and how people used to write how much they hated me on it and about all the stupid and weird things I used to do when I was alive. It was a bit embarrassing to read about what I loser I was, but it was also kind of flattering, I guess? That this Jeff guy thought it was worth it to tell my story one last time.

The book is about more than me, though. It’s about this girl named Jackie who’s trying to find out why everybody hated me so much and what I did to cause the people to mess up my funeral. (What did I do? Even I didn’t know what I did! Until I read the book, I mean.) So she talks to my mother, my girlfriend Kathy, and two of my friends, Beef and Morty. My mother tells Jackie how she forced me to work all the time to Earn My Salt. Kathy tells her about how she was nice to me for a while, then became mean all of a sudden. (I miss her cats! They were so cute.) Beef and Morty talk to Jackie about how they made friends with me when nobody else would, and taught me how to dress and groom better and how to have more confidence. Morty was also my boss, and he showed me what karaoke was. I miss karaoke too – the only place where people didn’t yell at me to stop singing. Not at first, anyway.

I think I like Jackie, although she can be a bit mean sometimes. She says mean things to people on the Internet after they say nasty things to her, but I don’t think she wants to hurt anybody. I’d still rather be friends with her than most people. Jackie is funny sometimes, and you can see yourself in her a lot, and sometimes she gets in trouble and you feel sad for her too. She likes movies a lot and even has weird dreams about them. I like movies sometimes, but not when people are fighting or shooting at each other. That makes me nervous and I have to look away, even in old movies where it looks fake. My mother made me fight other kids all the time in school, and I couldn’t take any more of that stuff when I got older.

I liked Hate Story a lot, which is funny because I don’t normally like books much. My mother always told me most books were stupid and a waste of time, except for anything by Daniel Steele and a few ones she liked by Bill Reilly and Annie Coulter. But Daniel Steele books were all the same, and the books they made me read in English in school were so old and wordy and la-di-da.

But Hate Story was different. I liked it, and not just because it was about me. The book moved fast, and there was always something interesting going on. It was funny and angry and seemed to be saying stuff about the world that people don’t want you to say. It was all, don’t say bad things about people, because you don’t know what they might do after. And not everything you read about people is true. And sometimes people look different when you see things through their eyes. I think everybody should read Hate Story, but please don’t be scared of the skeleton man and the dark people on the front. I know they’re scary, but they can’t hurt you, it’s just a picture.

So if you want to find out what I did to make everybody so angry, you need to buy a copy of Hate Story. It’s on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and other Internet bookstores. And the next time you go to a karaoke night, please sing a song for me. Maybe something by Peabo Bryson? I love his voice so much.

Paul Shoreditch

Paul Shoreditch (1973-2019) was a softball player, office gopher, fast-food cook, stock clerk and karaoke singer -- and was terrible at all of them. He grew up in Mississauga, Ontario and leapt from a building in Toronto before making his mark as one of the main characters in Jeff Cottrill's Hate Story (Dragonfly Publishing). The book is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online booksellers.