Book Review: Captain Doobie, Goodtime Slim and the One Thing They had to Do Today, by DC White

Two slacker housemates are given one job to do – drive a car from Adelaide to Melbourne – but life is never that simple.

With a title like this one, you know that you’re in for a wild ride.

With a title like this one, you know that you’re in for a wild ride.

Captain Doobie and Goodtime Slim are housemates in the southern suburbs of South Australia – they rise late, they attempt to avoid the Centrelink office (and who can honestly blame them for that!) and enjoy a quality ice coffee…when they can get one.

These two fine, upstanding gentle…oh, who am I kidding! This is a tale of two dole bludgers, who take on a – what should be – simple task; to drive a car from Adelaide to Melbourne. What could possibly be so difficult about that? Therein lies the quip from the title: ‘one thing they had to do today’. The problem is, there are a number of people who wish to stop them – including the Russian Mafia and the Farmers Union Police (to say more about them would be to ruin one of the earliest gags).

Along the reader’s journey, as well as that of our comic duo, there are a cavalcade of characters – from the corner shop owner whose products would give Aldi a run for their money; the pirate lady and her desirable daughter; the Russian Mafia men; and, the authority figures, who take their jobs and their milk a little too seriously.

White’s novel reads like an amalgam of the great British comedy shows and a couple of their contemporary writers. There are hints of Python, The Young Ones and the styles of Douglas Adams and Ben Elton. Elton’s earliest novel, Stark, is particularly prevalent in the contents of the trunk of the car. There are also a number of well-known Adelaide locations identified, which gives the novel a pleasant home-grown feel.

Captain Dobbie, Goodtime Slim and the One Thing They Had to Do Today is a fun read, a rollicking ride but is mildly hamstrung by the main point of its title – there is literally only one thing that drives this novel. The entirety of the plot is heavily centred on the drive from Adelaide to Melbourne and the pursuant chase to either catch them or stop them.

It is foreseeable that DC White will bring back the pairing for future adventures – and it would be remissive if they were not to return. I hope the humour will continue, with a little more variety in their next adventure.

Distributed by: Elephant House Press
November 2018
RRP: $19.99

Disclaimer: Elephant House Press was co-founded by Elizabeth Calder who is a contributor to Glam Adelaide.

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