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I know I'm writing this is a few years after this book was published but interested as I am about the male psyche I thought I'd give it a go. The author Mark Barrowcliffe writes about his extensive romantic escapades from his teenage years until he finally meets his wife. The one thing which jumps out immediately is how unlikeable the author is and I've read loads of lads' lit/blokey stuff in the past so I'm aware of the genre. He comes across as arrogant/picky and to be completely frank a bit of a bully in relationships, there's also a large element of one of Alan Partridge's favourite sayings 'needless to say I had the last laugh'. I just can't understand how he managed to woo an enormous selection of women into his bed as he's extremely self-deprecating too and isn't even subtle about it.

That said, it was fairly readable and extremely voyeuristic which I fully admit is my guilty pleasure. It just makes me glad that I'm no longer in the dating game - well for the time being anyway.
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on 10 July 2009
I couldn't quite understand the concept behind this book. In Barrowcliffe's dedication he says that the story is of interest because it is so 'topical' and representative of modern love and sex, but if the story is so commonplace, who is it of interest to? The blurb asks you to decide '40 girlfriends, does that make him a stud or a loser?' Get that, readers? FORTY girlfriends! Phwooar! Read all about it in nauseating detail you filthy voyeur!

I will lay my cards on the table with this review- although a fair amount younger than the author it seems highly unlikely (or impossible) I will match his number of romances by the time I hit 40, so if I sound bitter then I hold my hands up. Out of all my male friends I only know of one who, at 35 is approaching the number of partners Barrowcliffe had, so I just don't buy it that this sort of behaviour is normal. Most men these days marry at around age 30, rather than Barrowcliffe's 40.

Putting aside the concept, is it a good read? Barrowcliffe seems to have a split personality that is difficult to sympathise with. He's obviously a cocky, arrogant and confident man and that's why he's been so successful in attracting women, but at the same time he seems curiously self-loathing. That's probably quite common in many men, but makes for an eye-gougingly infuriating experience. It reads like 'Ho ho, ...dirty anecdote, sweeping generalisation about men and women, ...judgmental snarking, joke, ...oh dear I'm really a mess who is just looking for real luurve, readers!.'

Fundamentally, who cares? Why should I care if Mr Smug got laid a lot, but shock horror found the whole thing a bit empty and wanted to settle down with a nice girl? Isn't that just growing up? Barrowcliffe isn't a good enough writer to make the anecdotes worthwhile - although he does a bit of self-deprecation, you can tell that he really thinks highly of himself. And not much of others.

Fortunately the author ends up with a respectable wife who (I notice) hasn't had 40 boyfriends. While I don't want to be evil and wish for the failure of a marriage just to prove someone wrong (although it's not beyond me to do so) - one does wonder, (a bit like what happened to Howard Stern after Private Parts) that the book's fairytale ending of 'I'm a bit of a rogue but look I love my wife' isn't tempting fate a bit.

So if you're the kind of half-man who is a bit intimidated by bed-busting tales of smug sexual conquest, avoid and read someone like Pete May, who, (unlike Barrowcliffe) seems eminently likeable and who also writes 'who cares' autobiographical novels about his problems (in his case, having to rent lots of different properties rather than have lots of sex).

As for whether the stories in Mr Wrong are true or not, that misses the point, are they really that unbelievable, or just depressingly all-too real? Barrowcliffe had his cake and ate it. You can pay him money to read how he did it. Fortunately I borrowed my copy from a friend.
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on 1 February 2009
I'm a big fan of Mark's previous books but this really made me question his talent as a writer. I find it hard to believe that this is a true portrayal of his romantic life. Had this been catalogued under fiction, it would have been less objectionable.

In comparison with his previous books, this is dull and very tiresome.
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on 7 July 2008
I loved 'The Elfish Gene' - Barrowcliffe's memoir about playing Dungeons and Dragons - and was keen to see what he'd write about next. 'Mr Wrong' focuses soley on his love life...in great detail. It's funny, insightful and moving. The author does marvellous jokes and manages to create sympathy for himself and the women he has known (and I mean known in the Biblical sense). Definitely worth getting.
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on 2 September 2008
I really expected a lot from this book, but Mark Barrowcliffe comes across as extremely smug, and without many redeeming features. Given the subject material, this should have been a 'laugh out loud' page-turner. It isn't. To be fair though, there are a few amusing anecdotes.
Don't bother with this...read something by Matt Dunn instead. Or Colin Butts.
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on 3 January 2010
A return to form for Mark Barrowcliffe, who left me outside looking in with his last tale of a youth spent playing Dungeons and Dragons.

The games he focuses on here, mental and physical, are something I can relate to more easily. You might not like the subject matter, but here's a tip - read the jacket before you start a book: it's often a clue to what's inside. In fact, if you make it as far as the foreword you'll find the author pleading with his parents not to read the book. Once you've read it, you'll realise he was serious.

So, if your sense of humour is more refined than Carry On films but less pretentious than Eddie Izzard, chances are you'll like this. There are times when you'll want to smack the author, but there are times when you'll laugh out loud at his crassness, deviousness or lack of self-awareness - and to his credit, he lays it all bare, in every sense, for us.

Another tip: keep a pencil and paper handy - the dramatis personae can get a little confusing.
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on 20 October 2008
I thought it would be funny and heartfelt - not a ego driven ramble... let's just be thankful that all those women escaped!!
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on 8 March 2009
this is an absolutely brilliant book describing the real-life love-life of the writer stroke by stroke. it's ruthlessly honest to the extent that you assume the author must be mad or determined to get divorced after his wife has a read... but there is something so intriguing about a man laying his romantic triumphs and many, many failures on the line in this way that you just can't put it down. sometimes you feel sorry for him. usually you feel sorry for his girlfriends. but whatever you feel, you'll be laughing.
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on 11 March 2009
This is a essential reading for anyone who's gone out for a romantic dinner looking forward to breakfast and woken up with egg on their face.
That'll be the entire male population of the planet then. Funny, frank and at times a little too informative.
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on 16 May 2009
Anyone who doubts the truth of Mark's antics in Mr Wrong is mistaken. I know this because I was unfortunate enough to witness many of the events directly, as I had the challenging experience of house sharing with Mark over many years. It was usually hilarious if not always exactly pleasant. If you hated Girlfriend 44 you will find Mr Wrong truly revolting. If you liked Girlfriend 44 then this is the real life more extreme version and you ought to love it.
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