I read this book over a year ago, and have for the most part - blissfully - forgotten about it, until the film came out and stars one of my favourite actors, Gerard Butler. It brought back every emotion I had. This book is the only one I've read during which I've found myself grinding my teeth and had a perverse sense of joy when I recycled it. I should have put it down sooner, but I don't like giving up on books.
The concept is fine and some parts are good, but for the most part, it was so badly written and edited that I couldn't help but be frustrated.
Bearing in mind some details are fussy, my frustrations:
1. The main character is the only one capable of being funny - or so it's written. When she makes a remark, everybody laughs and spends hours (!) laughing at her joke/comment. In places, I had to re-read chapters in order to find out what was so funny. I never did.
2. Every new male character who is tall, dark and handsome falls madly in love with the lead character. Every new male character who is ordinary and 'ugly' is a creep. Furthermore, practically all the new female characters are horrendous creatures, who are nasty to the main character (of course!).
3. You're meant to believe that the main character - who's barely finished college, has never had a good full-time job, and has been unemployed for months since her husband's illness/death - can suddenly sit down and write a list of potential jobs she wants (out of about 15, only 1 is realistic and that's something like a marketing executive!!!). Of course, she applies and despite the complete lack of experience or qualifications, she gets an interview within a week, the job within a similar time frame, and ends up being the best employee the firm's ever had. It's completely unbelievable.
4. Every character's predominant facial expression is winking. Funny enough, in curiosity, I looked at one of Ahern's subsequent novels and the main expression there, just after flicking through a few pages, was raised eyebrows.
It is clear that these details have remained with me, and some readers would address me as being completely unfair. Yet, these frustrations could not even make my say it was an okay book. If it was possible, I wouldn't even give the book a one star. I seriously do not understand how it became as successful as it did. I hate to say it, but I believe her father's position likely helped. After all, there are better books out there that tackle similar subjects and I am sure better authors who've yet to get published.