Perhaps unfairly lumped within the genre of 'chick-lit' because the central character is a single 20-something woman living in London, this book is refreshing in its refusal to follow the usual frothy neuroses of a PR/Media/Publishing babe whose preferred drugs of choice are white wine and chocolate and is searching for Mr Right (or Mr Right Now).
Yes, the heroine of this tale is single, in her 20s, and residing in London, but here she works in the nursing profession as a carer at an old folks home. Alison spends her nights (and most of her free time during her days) at Maytime, a home for retired performers, whose careers range from bonafide homegrown former divas to Beryl of Beryl's Budgerigars!
Alison's "Fear of Custard" isn't a phobia of school dinners though, Custard is the bright yellow Triumph which belonged to her deceased Dad. And just as Alison can't bring herself to get rid of Custard, who stagnates undriven (but not unloved) in a garage in Croydon, she is also paralysed with fear of living, something her flatmate Mel has no problem with as an ardent clubber, aspiring DJ, and all-round man magnet.
Instead Alison prefers the security blanket of Maytime. However some of the residents aren't quite as enamoured of the chance to grow old (or gracefully) in peace, and it's through the exploits of Plum and Blossom, two former strippers, that Alison truly discovers the joys of being young, alive, and out of control.
I would recommend this book for anyone who has ever experienced a lack of confidence in themselves. This tale will warm your heart, restore your joie de vivre, and is a nice reminder that you are only as old as the man you are feeling (up)!