Sunday, 8 May 2011

Review: 10 Reasons Not To Fall In Love by Linda Green

Jo Gilroy, an award-winning TV news reporter, has returned to work part-time at Spotlight North West after a lengthy maternity leave. But, to her dismay, she has been demoted to covering the 'And finally' stories at the end of the news. Even worse, her new boss is her ex-boyfriend Richard, who walked out on her and their son Alfie on his first birthday. Now Richard's going out with the station's celebrity weather girl. As the humiliation piles on, Jo wonders how she can ever trust a man again. But then she meets Dan, an enigmatic balloon sculptor who lives on a canal boat. Her son Alfie is enchanted by him, as is Jo. But Dan is hiding a dark secret about his childhood. And can Jo really risk another unhappy ending? Find out in Linda Green's hilarious and moving new novel...

I’m a big fan of chick lit – I fight the corner incessantly, trying to prove that it isn’t all fluff and bad metaphors for sex. There are some truly brilliant books that fall into the chick lit category – unfortunately this isn’t one of them.

Everything about this book screams light fluffy romance, from the cover to the highly amusing blurb. This is the only reason I picked it up, expecting the same well worn, but good plots that involve romance, humour, twists and a happily ever after. And I suppose you do get that, but there’s also a lot of bad stuff in between that really isn’t necessary.

The first part of the book made me so depressed I debated just putting it down and never looking at it again. It was miserable, the situation was pants, and you wonder how Jo is even getting up in the morning with her attitude and the bad things that have been going on.

Then we meet Dan! Yay love interest! Witty banter! Excellent, finally this book is picking up! And then we get a chapter from Dan’s childhood which made me morbidly depressed again.

Whilst we get Jo’s intermittently light story, it’s interspersed with Dan’s background told from child Dan’s perspective, about his abusive father. As the tale of abuse unfolds and we see how bad family life is, I began to wonder why on earth the author had chosen to do this. By all means make the hero tortured and brooding with a past – it keeps them interesting. But this was too much. It was heavy, it was horrible, and it was not what I wanted in my ‘light reading’. If I want miserable stories I will go to the ‘painful stories’ section in Waterstones. As it is, I’ve never been big on wallowing in other people’s misery, I want to be cheered up or amazed by a book. Shocking I know.

It seemed like two different books that had been smushed together. The light fluff and the hard hitting abusive childhood, and she couldn’t pick which one so she just rammed them together and hoped it stuck. It really didn’t.

Once Dan and Jo get flirting the book picks up, the humour is there, the pace is better, and everything runs a lot more smoothly. Of course then there’s the typical tragic twist that results in everything going tits up. But by that point I just didn’t care.

I finished this book out of a morbid desire to see whether it would be redeemable. It wasn’t, and it’s put me off wanting to read any more of Linda Green’s books.

The actual chick lit romance at the core was very good, and if she’d stuck to that then this could have been a really good book – the characters were believable and well rounded, and I could actually sympathise with them.
Unfortunately it felt that the further in we got, the more the author wished she was writing the hard hitting abuse story, and the more depressing it got.

If you want a combination of depressive real life and fluff then this is the book for you. However if you, like me, are looking for the next chick lit to make the world seem a fuzzier place, I advise you to steer well clear.

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