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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gayle returns with a classic
Mike Gayle is back with a new book, with a very novel idea.
The book tells the story of a weekend from two different perspectives,and as always is an enjoyable read.
The book can be read in whichever order you prefer (I started with the Hen weekend, and am glad I read it that way round).
I have been reading Mike Gayle books for many years, and so far, they...
Published on 20 Feb. 2012 by C Stone

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars On the fence with this one
The Stag and Hen Weekend by Mike Gayle is a unique book that it's actually in two parts; one story covering Phil's lively stag weekend in Amsterdam and the other about Helen's hen weekend spent at a country spa hotel. Once you've read about the first weekend you simply flip the book over to start reading the other part of the story. It's the reader choice as to whether...
Published on 21 Mar. 2013 by Sharon


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gayle returns with a classic, 20 Feb. 2012
By 
C Stone - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Mike Gayle is back with a new book, with a very novel idea.
The book tells the story of a weekend from two different perspectives,and as always is an enjoyable read.
The book can be read in whichever order you prefer (I started with the Hen weekend, and am glad I read it that way round).
I have been reading Mike Gayle books for many years, and so far, they have all been witty, emotional and entertaining.
This new book is no exception.
I just really need a sequel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like two books in one - FANTASTIC! xxx, 14 Feb. 2013
By 
Megan ReadingInTheSunshine (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Stag and Hen Weekend (Paperback)
I was particularly excited about reading Mike Gayle's book for many reasons. One is that I'm actually getting married this year, and me and my fiancé have recently been talking about Stag and Hen do's, and what our plans were, so when this book came through the post - I wanted to read it straight away! The other reason which I need to talk about is the format of this book - it is actually split into TWO parts! One half is The Stag Weekend, and then once you have finished that part, all you need to do is turn the book over and open it from the other side to read The Hen Weekend! I was very excited about this and the best thing is - you can choose which story to start with!

The Stag and Hen weekend tells the story of a weekend from two entirely different perspectives - a males and a females. Phil is off on a Stag weekend to Amsterdam with his friends. Whilst Phil would like a quiet weekend of perhaps seeing the culture available and visiting places of interest, his friends are more interested in getting drunk as quickly as they can and being on the lookout for women. When Phil starts chatting to a woman in Amsterdam, it turns out they have rather a lot in common. Helen has opted to stay in the UK, going for a spa weekend in the Peak District with her friends. Ready for a weekend of laughing, pampering and relaxing, the last thing she expects is to run into her ex fiancé. As well as having a blast from the past to deal with, Helen has also been joined by Phil's sister Caitlin, who she has never got along with...

This is the first book that I have read by Mike Gayle and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed this! I was drawn in straight away and spent many wonderful hours losing myself in the two stories. I started with The Stag Weekend, but as I say, it doesn't matter which side you start with first, and part of the fun is choosing!

With The Stag Weekend, I was immediately hooked to the story, and I instantly warmed to Phil, I got behind him from the beginning and very much enjoyed the time I spent in his story. Phil was such a well-written character that I could feel his emotions pouring out of the page. As I read the story, I could clearly see the scenes vividly in my mind from his perspective, and I went through the same emotions with him. I'm certain that there will be readers out there who will relate to Phil or one of his friends, whilst at the same time enjoying everything the Stag do has to offer! I won't spoil it, but The Stag Weekend was my favourite part!

When I switched to The Hen Weekend, my mind was very much still with Phil and everything that had happened during his journey over the weekend. However, within a few pages, I was completely absorbed by Helen's tale and taken on a completely different journey - this time with the girls! I felt that I connected strongly with Helen as a character, as I read more I began to understand her personality and why she acts the way she does.

I loved the way relationships were explored in The Stag and Hen Weekend. I loved how as a reader I was able to read about not only Phil and Helen's relationship, but the relationships and firm friendships that they individually have built with those closest to them. I enjoyed seeing these friendships grow and develop differently.

Even though there are two parts to The Stag and Hen Weekend they blend together perfectly and compliment each other, and I was so pleased that as a reader we were invited on both the Stag do and the Hen do! Mike Gayle has excelled with this novel - There is drama, plenty of humour but at the same time there is a lot of emotion throughout and some parts are even quite thought-provoking. Personally I am very excited to see what Mike Gayle release next. A brilliant novel that I would thoroughly recommend.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Two strong narratives!, 31 May 2013
This review is from: The Stag and Hen Weekend (Paperback)
This book had been on my wish list for some time and so when I found out that I was going to be meeting Mike Gayle at a Brixton Library event, I bumped it straight to the top and actually downloaded the audio book so that I could read it in time to meet him. I loved the concept of having the dual narrative and making them completely separate books. Both stories do actually stand on their own, but you get more of an insight into the second one you read, having read the first one. I thought it was a concept which, although it has been done previously, hasn't been done for a while and is refreshing to find as a reader!

I have to say, I think I enjoyed the male side of the story more than the female side. This surprised me but I think it's because I found the character of Helen just a little bit irritating. She is very much a typical woman, so it's nothing wrong with the way she is written, but I just felt that, if I knew her, her inability to make a decision and her apparent need to revisit the past in the way she does, it seems as if she wants to have her cake and eat it and that annoyed me! Phials stag do was in Amsterdam, a city which I love, and I found the temptations that he faced very realistic, and the way he dealt with them just as realistic too!

The supporting characters in the novel are also strong. There are two main sub plots which only add to the twists and turns of the storyline, both involving other couples and these spam both parts of the book, again explaining why the books are two separate novels, but two separate novels that are joined together. The scenes and settings are described really well and I thought that the time period, setting it over the course of a weekend, was just right, the pace of the book was good.

I haven't read this kind of fiction written by a man before, but I really didn't feel, when reading it, that it was a man writing as a woman. This writer writes characters of both sexes in a very realistic and believable way, and hearing him speak at the library event, this is because he simply bases them on friends he has, and their partners. Although this is the first novel by this author I have read, I would definitely like to explore his other books Dan perhaps work my way through his back catalogue. Perhaps because this book is written by a male author, it will mean that more men will read this. I hope so because it is funny and insightful and would be a great choice for a male or female reader, a great one to whisk you away for the weekend!
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3.0 out of 5 stars On the fence with this one, 21 Mar. 2013
By 
Sharon (Wiltshire) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Stag and Hen Weekend (Paperback)
The Stag and Hen Weekend by Mike Gayle is a unique book that it's actually in two parts; one story covering Phil's lively stag weekend in Amsterdam and the other about Helen's hen weekend spent at a country spa hotel. Once you've read about the first weekend you simply flip the book over to start reading the other part of the story. It's the reader choice as to whether they start with Phil's story or Helen's... I decided to read about Phil's exploits first.

As you'd probably expect the stag weekend is a lively affair with Phil and his mates going to Amsterdam for the weekend, although Phil is not actually looking forward to it as he knows his ideas as to how he'd like to spend the weekend differ to what his best man Simon has in store. But on first night Phil gets chatting to an attractive woman who he soon discovers he has more in common with than he first realises. This chance encounter seems to leave Phil questioning his whole future.

Helen is not particularly looking forward to her hen weekend either as she'll have to spend time with her future sister-in-law Caitlin who, despite the number of years Phil and Helen have been together, has never been the easiest person to get along with. However, she can relax and enjoy her first night with her friends as Caitlin is not arriving until the next morning... that is until her ex fiance Aiden turns up. Helen is already suffering with pre-wedding jitters and now Aiden's appearance has brought back a lot of painful memories and his shock announcement is not helping matters either...

I'm a bit on the fence with this book as I didn't love it but then again I didn't hate it either, for me I preferred the stag weekend element more than I did the hen weekend. I did think the concept was a good one but just felt that neither story really came to a conclusion, there were just too many loose ends that needed tying up. Personally I think it might have worked better if it had been written as alternate chapters as that way you could have reached a fitting conclusion without leaving any questions needing answering.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Lady or the Tyger, 5 Mar. 2012
By 
Like many readers, I was initially perturbed at the lack of a definitive ending for this novel. It does, however, bring to mind the short story "The Lady or the Tyger," in which the ending judgment is left up to the reader. After the initial "Arrrggghhh!" at the end, I let the novel digest and now I am at peace with it thematically. Definite must read.

And yes, Caitlin is just as Helen and Yaz describe her. Heatily agree.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars books, 21 Feb. 2012
ive read all of mr gayles books ,in my opinion this is his best yet,it is a book that i just couldnt put down ,i started with the stag weekend first which left little to the imagination as ive been on a stag weekend to holland,the hen weekend sounded great fun also. it left me in suspense all away along right till the end ,the question is did he or didnt he.i would recommend this book to any one as it is a great read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Def not his best!, 18 Feb. 2013
This review is from: The Stag and Hen Weekend (Paperback)
I purposely didn't buy this in hardback as when i read the blurb, i thought to myself 'sounds a bit same old'........ in my opinion I was right!

I will always hold a soft spot for MG as my husband had never read a book until Turning Thirty and then i had to drag all the old MG books out so he could read them - I re-read them all & loved them all over again.

But with this one - i was bored from about page 5 (I started with the Hen w/end....) it was just so predictable and then skimmed read the remainder to see if i had guessed what had happened (it had) and then i turned to the Stag w/end.

Again - predictable and sooo boring. skimmed read to the end & then realised that i didn't even like Helen or Phil as characters so couldn't care less what happened.

However - -MG writing style is still so spot one with the 30+ / early 40's genre, & loved the 2 parter idea - also no real belly laugh moments as with previous books??!!!

Sorry Mike - personally didn't enjoy, but from reading the reviews I know plenty of others did - -as me & husband have just turned 40 - i'm praying your next one is Turning 40!!'
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stag and Hen weekend, 24 Feb. 2013
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A good easy read to take your mind off recession etc! Everyone will relate to parts of it. Only criticism was a bit far fetched in certain parts...
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3.0 out of 5 stars By the end you really don't care that much, 22 April 2013
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Mike Gayle has an excellent idea heer, to tell the story of the same event from two different peoples' point of view. To pick a stag and hen party is even better, both are at different events and both are imagining what the other is doing. When they cannot make contact imagination gets wilder and both experience challenges and temptations of their own. Rumour adds to the rich pattern and there is all the making of a fascinating and potentially tear jerking novel.

So why doesn't it work? The problem is that Phil and Helen are both desperately dull characters, Do they love each other enough to avoid temptation and to go down the aisle - do you really care? ultimately it seems a choice of the boring present or a bit of excitement in the future and you have a pretty good idea which they are going to choose. There are far more interesting characters in their parties but you don't really get to meet them. It's a great idea wasted.

The saving grace is that it's a quick read and some of it is amusing, just generally though it is a pretty unsatisfactory execution of an excellent idea.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Judge this book by it's cover! AMAZING!!!, 8 Jun. 2012
The cover of this book is exciting, different, intriguing and fun, which are adjectives that reflect the story itself. I am a fan of Mike Gayle and have read all his previous books but this is absolutely his best work yet. I don't like to write about the plot too much in reviews, but the way in which Gayle writes about both the stag and hen parties is so true in a humorous yet heartbreaking way. In short, I love Gayle's work because it is real life in a book. You get sucked into the lives of his characters because you really believe in them, you can see some of yourself, your friends and family in them and that is what makes his work so magic!
I would recommend this book to anyone (male or female) looking for a solidly good story. I can honestly say this has been my book of the year so far, and I read a lot of books! If I could, I would promise to give you your money back if you didn't enjoy this book, that's how much I believe that everyone will love it! BUY IT!
(Also the cover is amazing and even though I've finished the book I still want to carry it around with me just to show it off!)
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The Stag and Hen Weekend
The Stag and Hen Weekend by Mike Gayle (Paperback - 14 Feb. 2013)
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