Book review: This one time by Alex van Tonder

This One Time book and plant

Book review: This one time by Alex van Tonder

This One Time by Alex van Tonder is a wonderful escape from reality that will make you want to throw the book across the room, sympathise with a serial killer and confusingly root for a misogynistic pig not to die.

van Tonder’s first book, This One Time, is a goodie. I will admit that the first chapter had me scratching my head in confusion…there was a wolf chomping off someone’s legs in the middle of nowhere. Yes, it’s odd, but delightfully so. It sets the tone for the rest of the book and truly is an escape from reality while still exploring very real issues women face in today’s world.

The protagonist is Jacob aka Brody Lomax, a misogynist and all-round terrible person. He shot to fame because of his slut-shaming, revenge porn posting and painting unrealistic revenge situations against women on his blog. Brody Lomax is the worst man any woman could ever hope to hook up with and it seemed that the majority of American men read and loved the blog, often sending in material for Brody to post – revenge porn images of their ex-girlfriends etc. Yes, it’s incredibly frustrating reading about it and made me want to throw the book against the wall a couple of hundred times.

It came as no surprise that Brody had an alcohol and substance abuse problem. When he landed a huge campaign with a big brand and a book deal about his life and success, it all became a bit overwhelming for him. As if fate, a remote hotel in the middle of nowhere invited him to stay during the winter months to recharge and review. The only catch was, there would be no other guests and no way to leave once snow season started. Brody couldn’t accept fast enough, wanting to use the time to write his book in peace and to get a handle on his addictions.

But, not all was as it seemed. An attractive woman, disguised as a chaperone, showed up to take care of the hotel and see to his needs; and everything goes pear-shaped. Worst case scenario pear-shaped! I’m not going into detail here because it’s great to read and go through it with the characters, but let’s just say a human Pinterest board with real body parts; a talking wolf; an axe, multiple murders and being held against his will whilst lying in his own human waste are involved. Half of me was thrilled that Brody was getting a taste of his own medicine, and the other rooted for him to survive.

I can’t recommend This One Time enough. There were a couple of twists that I did not see coming, which made it just that much better. van Tonder is a great writer and I can’t wait for her to write more. Both her books, This One Time and A Walk at Midnight are both entertaining reads while discussing and focusing on female topics relevant to our times.

Anne Doli
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