One of the reviewers who slated the book branded it “an absolute waste of both time and money”. They joked that the book “came with both a free packet of crayons and a blindfold... make of that what you will.”
Poking fun at the mess Brexit made of the haulage industry, one of the other one-star reviews which does not contain a “verified purchase” badge reads: “I’ve received my cake. Couldn’t eat it though. The lack of lorry drivers meant it turned up stale. Thanks, Brexit. These sunlit uplands are very, very grey indeed.”
However, one of the five-star reviews praised the memoir as “one of the most remarkable books I have ever read.”
Hilariously, the reader also added: “Francois is not a natural author. Almost every paragraph contains examples of the Accidental Partridge phenomenon - not least his recollection of his now legendary stare-off with Will Self and subsequent media appearances discussing the size of his appendage.”
A four-star review urges prospective readers to “ignore the biased reviews”, adding that it’s “quite good”. Although they said it could have benefited from a good editor, they said it’s “worth reading” regardless of how one voted in the referendum.
The book has garnered its fair share of jokes on Twitter, with one comparing the MP’s literary project to Peep Show character Mark Corrigan’s Business Secrets of the Pharaohs.
Nothing is more Business Secrets of the Pharaohs than Mark Francois' book Spartan Victory. https://t.co/eNzCx3uJbv
Mark Francois gives the game away as to who Boris Johnson's Secret Santa this year by giving him the book that he w… https://t.co/tHOmGfxSuq
— Ed Freeman #JohnsonOut (@Ed Freeman #JohnsonOut)
A parody of the book has also received lots of attention on social media. In the bogus “excerpt”, “Francois” outlines how turning off a microwave before it beeps makes him feel as though he’s “defused a nuclear warhead like James Bond”.
The fake passage also purports that Francois has a picture of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher on the sun visor of his car, and describes the MP putting a Peperami behind his ear as he takes his seat in the House of Commons.
An extract from Spartan Victory. Mark Francois' self-published book about the Battle of Brex… https://t.co/Jdl2xAJB2g
Some also pointed out that news of the MP’s book was trending on Twitter at the same time as the word “rectum”. “Rectum” was trending last week after news broke of a man who prompted a response from the bomb squad after getting an artillery shell stuck up his bottom. The story is unrelated to the MP’s book (as far as we know)...
Mark Francois and rectum trending at the same time. I'll let you draw your own conclusions... https://t.co/lFpnQdqPZi
Speaking to The Telegraph’s Chopper’s Politics podcast about the book, the Rayleigh and Wickford MP said he wrote the book during lockdown, and revealed that it’s about “the battle for Brexit - the three-year battle in parliament and media to honour the result of the referendum.”
🔖ERG Chair Mark Francois MP has announced an early Christmas present for the Brexiteer in your life, his new book r… https://t.co/13rpHgYWwq
Despite approaching “a couple of dozen” of publishers with his book, he said: “The problem was the orthodoxy within the publishing industry is very much Remain.”
The Tory MP added: “I got some nice compliments about the book and the writing, but it became fairly evident after a while that no publisher wanted to publish it.”
Responding to a question on whether or not the Remain-bias is “in your head”, he said: “No, there was definitely an element of that. I was getting it all second-hand through an agent. He just said, look, this industry has a particular view of the world and it’s not quite the same view that you’ve got. So in the end that’s why I decided to go down the self-publishing route.”
He said his colleague, culture secretary Nadine Dorries, encouraged him to self-publish the book “if the story’s worth telling”.
Would you like to unwrap one of these on Christmas day? We’re not sure...
Indy100 has reached out to Mark Francois for comment.