“She sings like someone being stabbed in a shower: all commitment, no tonal control. This is not being she’s singing and fighting back the urge to vomit. This is how she normally sings. It is one of her endearing qualities.”
This is pretty much the story of an angry man not coping with his wife’s male best friend. He does ridiculous things, like throw cold tea over work experience peons, and get trashed and play computer games instead of showing the flat to the estate agent, and is basically the worst stereotype of a useless husband that there is. This is Nick Hornby-lite – so those who particularly enjoyed High Fidelity or How To Be Good might disagree with me entirely and find this rather enjoyable.
We started out with such promise, a new husband being a rather unusual (from my experience) protagonist, but the entire plot was patently ridiculous and the witticisms were the only aspect of this dire work that kept me going to the end.
“I expected some sort of fanfare, going back to work. To be treated differently. I feel different. Very grown-up. Last time I saw everyone, I was Single Man, now I’m Married Man. I speak the language of Married Man. I’m part of the Holy Order of Married Men. I know the Code. I can do mother-in-law jokes”
“This is something that Isabel is good at: twisting an argument so that what a minute ago sounded fair and reasonable coming out of your mouth sounds like something about as acceptable as kitten-stamping.”
“Before Johnson ‘went soft’ and came to work on Life & Times magazine with me, he was a hard-bitten crime reporter… somewhere along the line, he has muddled his time working the sink estates, covering stories of social decay, organised crime and young lives wasted with marriage. He sees them as the same thing.”
The final nail in the coffin of clichés in this book was the atrociously twee ending. I won’t say what it is, but as I got towards it, and release from this prison of a book, it did occur to me that the last chapter might reveal a next step, a future as an ending, and lo and behold, a beautifully neat conclusion just wrapped itself in a bow and jumped into my eyes.
Mostly, this is how I feel about this book:
(credit to Bookalicious Pam, who tweeted this image)
It gets two points and two points only because there are some funny lines.