Johnny Ruin by Dan Dalton review – for the love of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl

In this witty, zappy fable, 80s rocker Jon Bon Jovi guides a troubled young man through his dark night of the soul

Some novels review themselves. They give you a synopsis. “A man takes a road trip through his own mind with Jon Bon Jovi.” They don’t hide the novelist’s Notes to Self, drawn from screenplay manuals: “Start with the weather … Set the scene … Give your character a flaw …” They then wittily describe that flaw: “My superpower is selective vision. I can see what I want to from a hundred paces.” They even spell out their own moral. “Every book is a self-help book if you read it right.”

All this could be frustrating for the non-reviewing, out-for-fun reader, but Johnny Ruin is charming in the way that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is charming – by which I mean, charming if you’re OK with a multilayered metafictional ...