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Can We Start Again? [Paperback]

Shirley Benton
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: 6.99
Price: 5.68 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

5 July 2012
Is it ever too late for a second chance? Tammy and Alvin had mapped out their entire lives together, including a pre-parental plan - a list of everything they wanted to do as a couple before they had children. But no amount of planning could have anticipated the heartbreaking problems that lay ahead problems that shattered their once-perfect relationship and led to a traumatic break-up. Then, after years of trying to move on, Tammy's world is turned upside down when Alvin comes back into her life asking for a second chance - with a difference. He proposes that they spend time together, doing the things they had once so eagerly planned, in a bid to remember why they felt they'd have children together some day, and ultimately recapture what they had. Still in love with Alvin, Tammy finds herself powerless to say no, even though their problems are still simmering in the background and threatening to boil over at any moment. Still, what they once had is surely worth trying to save. But can something that's broken ever truly be whole again?

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Product details

  • Paperback: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Poolbeg Press Ltd (5 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842235109
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842235102
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.6 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 441,717 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book - a definite MUST read. 5 July 2012
By Squid
Having read, the first book "Looking for Leon", I've had Shirley Benton's new book "Can We Start Again?" on order for ages and read it on my Kindle straight away. I had a lot of expectations from this book, as her first novel was so quirky and so entertaining and this one did not disappoint in anyway.

"Can We Start Again" is a very original story about a young couple called Tammy & Alvin who go through it all, fall in love, break up, get back together. Yeah, I know we've seen this before in other books, but the author manages to deal with this in a completely original way. She puts an amazing emotional spin on things, you really feel that Tammy & Alvin are soul mates from the off and you get that warm feeling when everything is going well. However, we go through the emotional rollercoaster that is their relationship, and I feel the reader with go through it too.

Again, like her first novel, Shirley Benton really writes characters very well, you feel like you've known these people for years. However, the story has a lot of twists and turns that keeps the reader engaged through out, exactly what everybody wants from a novel.

Shirley Benton is a very talented and gifted writer; she exhibits originality in a unique writing style that I haven't seen in a long, long time. You go on a journey with "Can We Start Again", you go through the high & lows of a modern relationship and it leaves you wanted more.

This novel gets my definite thumbs up, 10 out of 10, 5 stars. A must read for everybody.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read!! 14 Aug 2012
By Megan ReadingInTheSunshine TOP 100 REVIEWER
I first discovered Shirley Benton when I read her book `Looking for Leon', and I instantly became a fan of hers, so I was very much looking forward to `Can we start again?' and I wasn't disappointed one bit.

In `Can we start again?', we meet Tammy and Alvin, two people who were very much in love, had their whole lives planned out together and had a pre-parental plan - a list of things that they both wanted to do together before settling down and having children. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen as a devastating break-up occurs. Years later, Alvin turns up at Tammy's door, desperate to make another go of things, and proposes that they go ahead with their pre-parental plan, doing the things that they most wanted to experience together to see if it can bring them together again.

I must say, the idea behind it was brilliant, I loved the `bucket-list' idea of a to-do list before children came along, and some of the activities in their list were fantastic! It really took the story to another level, and as the reader I went on a journey with them, being there for not just the lows, but for the high and happy moments too.

Tammy and Alvin were great characters. As the story progressed I began to understand their personalities more and both of them were very likeable, I felt as though I knew them personally, and could imagine exactly how they'd be in real life.

I loved every part of the story and it was a book I couldn't put down! Shirley Benton has created a fantastic story with some twists and turns that kept me wanting to read on to find out more. As much as I loved `Looking for Leon', I'm going to say that I think `Can we start again?' was even better!!! A brilliant read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Suz 27 July 2012
This is the first Shirley Benton book I have read and I have to say I will be going off to get her other one (Looking For Leon)! Although we have all seen the lets get back together story, this is written with a brilliant amount of humour. From page one I was hooked and loved every bit of the whole story. Fabulous to see more talent coming from Ireland which in my eyes holds the best writers in the whole genre.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another fantastic read from Shirley 16 July 2012
By Sharon TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Tammy gets the shock of her life when she answers her door for standing there is her ex-fiance Alvin, someone she had not seen or spoken to since he'd left to go to Australia a couple of years before.

He admits to Tammy that he's still in love with her and would like to get back together with her. But first he reminds her of the pre-parental plan that they had compiled of things that they were going to do before they had kids and suggests that they plan these activities now to see if they are still compatible after all of this time apart.

What follows is a rollercoaster of events that bring emotions to the surface, good and bad, so will it bring them closer together or will they realise that they are better off apart?

I'd been looking forward to reading this book ever since I knew Shirley had finished writing it and I wasn't disappointed. It had everything you'd expect from a story about a modern relationship, it had emotional highs and lows as well as interesting and likeable characters in Tammy and Alvin. Although I enjoyed her debut novel Looking for Leon, I would say that this was her best novel to date so am already looking forward to her next book which should be released next year.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read 14 July 2012
By Lis88 - Published on
Tammy is a control freak, who likes to plan every detail of her life with the utmost precision. Alvin is a free spirit who tends to just go with the flow and see where life takes him. An unlikely couple, yet love blossoms between them quite quickly.
However, when the novel begins we learn that they have already broken up nearly two years previous. Prior to their separation, they had devised a pre-parental plan, of activities designed to take them out of their comfort zones before they settled down to have kids. Now, Alvin is back and he proposes that they complete each activity on their list in a bid to see if they can rekindle what they had and give their love a second chance.
As a parent myself, the whole concept of a pre-parental plan intrigued me. Life changes immeasurably once you have children, and having a list of things you want to do as a couple while you are still relatively responsibility free is, in short, genius, and a great premise for a novel. The list itself is quite creative and well thought out.
I thought the author did an exemplary job of dealing with the serious issues faced by the couple in their relationship that ultimately led to their separation the first time around. The flashback chapters explaining their problems were written with just the right amount of poignancy, while still keeping the overall tone of the novel upbeat and humorous.
As with Benton's previous novel, I adored the secondary characters, which really gave the story depth and brought it to life. Tammy's family, particularly her two close cousins, are excellently described, while Alvin's mother Claire's eccentricity was wittily portrayed. Fleeting meetings with other characters such as Angie and Brett, and in the latter half of the book, Randy, were laugh out loud material.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which was a follow up to the author's debut novel Looking for Leon. While the storyline of this book is somewhat more serious than Leon, Benton's witty, humorous style of writing is still evident, with well thought out and relatable main characters and a supporting cast of funny, lovable minor characters. With surprising plot twists throughout, I was hooked from page one, and will look forward to reading more from Shirley in the future.
4.0 out of 5 stars Can We Start Again 19 Jun 2014
By Samantha J - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I loved the concept for this novel. I can totally see myself creating this pre-parental plan, as I feel I’m kinda doing it now. Right after I got married last September I was bit by the travel bug, and have since either gone on or will be going on trips to: St Lucia, New York, Alabama, Chicago, Kansas City, Green Bay, Las Vegas and the Bahamas. If you think I’m afraid I won’t be able to travel once we have children, you would be correct. I might be going overboard, but I don’t care! Anywho, back to the novel. So I loved the idea, and was even pretty jealous I hadn’t thought of it. The execution though I wasn’t as in favor of. I actually found myself hoping we would come in at a different time, maybe when the breakup was happening, instead of when two years had already passed and have the story unfold a different way. I still enjoyed reading the book and seeing the love these two characters clearly had for another, but I kept getting a twinge of something missing, something that was just within reach but not quite there with the plot. I do have to give props to the writing as it was tight and on-point, and I will definitely read more from this author – looking forward to what she comes up with next!
3.5 stars
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