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43
4.6 out of 5 stars
A Beginner's Guide To Salad
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 January 2014
This was a brilliant début from Jennifer Joyce. It is written as if by an author who has been writing books for years (she has previously written a short novella, but this is her first full length novel).

A Beginner's Guide To Salad tells the story of Ruth, who lives with Billy and Theo and she likes nothing more than watching the TV series A Beginner's Guide with her flatmate Billy and a nice, family sized chocolate bar. But when Ruth gets invited to her school reunion, she knows she has to get her bum in gear and off the sofa and start losing weight. Ruth was cruelly bullied at school with one particularity nasty incident with Zack, her old school crush. Ruth wants to turn up at the reunion looking slim and fantastic so she can show Zack just what an idiot he was! With the help of her friends Billy, Erin and a very nice new work colleague Jared, losing weight in time will be easy peasy.....

Who could not like Ruth, I think she is one of my top favourite fictional characters as she is just so lovely and not to mention very funny; especially when it comes to winding her boss Kevin up. I definitely had some resonance with Ruth with her tough time at school and I could see why she wanted to turn up and wow everybody, but like her friends were, I was unsure if her intentions were purely for her, or for the idiot Zack. However despite all this Ruth was a really happy person and this is why I warmed to her as she has this positivity that just radiates off her. I think it was Ruth's happy character that made this novel so good and enjoyable to read because if she was more downbeat, it would have been more serious.

Ruth really does try out some really crazy diets! The one that I think will stay with me for a while is the Cabbage Soup diet as it just sounded so unbelievable ghastly!

We not only get Ruth's point of view in this but Billy's (Ruth's flatmate) and Jared (her very handsome new work colleague). It always makes a book that more interesting when you get to know more than one character in depth and the author got their character viewpoints across perfectly. I was definitely falling in love myself with Jared and his storyline was really quite heartbreaking and I hoped that he would find happiness again.

There is a great message in this and it really got me thinking. I hope that everyone takes away the same message that I did from this.

A really lovely, light-hearted read with an undertone message that you can just pick up and lose yourself in.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 January 2014
With this book, Jennifer Joyce shows that she is an amazingly talented writer, and I eagerly await any future creations she has in store. This book was so good that I read it in one sitting; I literally couldn't put it down because I was drawn into it so much! It takes one heck of a book to make you plug your dying e-reader into the wall, sleep be damned, just so you can journey further into the wonderful world of these characters.

It really does have something for everyone. I guarantee readers will identify with one or more of the characters in many ways. Maybe there's a bit of Ruth, Billy, or one of the others in you. Maybe you know a Jared, Erin, or have the unfortunate task of working for a Kelvin. They feel like real people and it's so wonderful to visit with them... people you'd love to have as friends and family... and others you'd want to stay as far away from as possible (I'm looking at you, Kelvin!). No cookie cutter, boring, or cliched stuff here, folks. This is writing filled with heart, humor, heartbreak, you name it.

Like I said, there's something for everyone, folks. I found myself smiling happily and laughing hysterically quite a bit, and also crying heavily in other places. It's very rare to see a writer so gifted with writing both humor and sadness; this book is truly an emotional experience that brought me so much enjoyment and touched my heart and soul deeply.

I also really enjoyed seeing the world from the points of view of several characters, rather than just one, and Jennifer Joyce writes so well that you're never confused as to who is telling their parts of the story. There are no jarring transitions, and you'll easily feel like you're in the shoes of each character. The same event can really be different seeing it from more than one perspective, as you'll see... and it's great to know what is going on inside everyone's heads as we go on these journeys with them.

I could see this book being adapted into a television series or feature film, too. It's that well-done! And definitely don't forget about the prequel to this book, "A Beginner's Guide to Christmas." I read that before this one, and fell in love with the characters and this fictional universe that I was ready to jump into "Salad" right away. Also, hopefully we'll have a chance to revisit Ruth and the others in the future, too, and see how they're doing. It would never be tiresome to revisit this world Jennifer Joyce has created, that's for sure.

As an adult male, I'm probably not the target audience for a romantic comedy. Really, though... this book is so much more than that. It's a wonderful, emotional experience with lots of heart, love, laughs, tears, and every emotion under the sun... and I absolutely give it my highest recommendation. This is one delicious "Salad" that everyone will love!

10/10; 5 Stars; A+; Absolute Perfection
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 January 2014
Ruth is overweight and unhappy. The prologue sees her reminiscing over her days at school, and the cruel humiliation she suffered at the hands of Zack, a boy she had really strong feelings for, and his gang of cronies who all played an awful trick on her leaving her with nasty mental scars and a close to zero level of self esteem.

The events of the past had been cruelly playing on her mind as she had been invited to their school reunion before the school was due to be knocked down. After initially thinking there was no way she could attend and show them she was still overweight - cue more taunts, she constructed a plan, well, several, that should see her shed the pounds and get into shape for the reunion. She was determined to show Zack what he had missed out on.

I really loved The Beginners Guide to Salad! Jennifer has a hilarious writing style yet also very touching, reminding me very much of a mix between Lindsey Kelk and Poppy Dolan - both of whom I love!
I found myself rooting instantly for Ruth's character, she really felt like a friend rather than a two dimensional character from a book. In fact I loved all the characters, they were all very well developed and fitted the story well. Billy was a firm favourite!

Whilst rooting for Ruth's weight loss I bitterly felt her disappointment when the pounds didn't fall off but it was really good to see her level of fitness improving which in turn built her confidence. And the overall message that the book conveyed was brilliant.

I am really looking forward to reading more from this talented author!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 January 2014
Review: I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of this gem of a debut novel and I am so glad I was given the chance to read this as I might not have discovered it otherwise! I was expecting a story about a woman's battle to loose weight, the feelings and emotions associated with this and the highs and lows we feel when we are dieting, especially for an occasion! What I got was a whole lot more, I actually found It really hard to put this book down and found myself wanting more when I finished it.

The character of Ruth was a lot happier than I expected her to be and reminded me of myself, dressing in bright colours and fabulous shoes, therefore I felt an instant connection with her. I didn't like the fact that she was dieting to look good for someone who had made her life so miserable in the past. If she had just been dieting for the reunion, i would've had more respect for her. I loved her relationship with her brother and his friends her roommate. Their relationship is unlike those you'd find in most books and so I really enjoyed this aspect of the novel. The other character I really liked was Ruth's sort of love interest. There were some really funny moments where this guy was involved, I found myself laughing out loud. There were also some reality touching moments too, when we found of that there was more to him than meets the eye.

The dieting in this book is almost more of a secondary storyline, this being a romantic comedy,the romance and funny moments kind of take over. I would've liked to have seen Ruth sticking to some of the diets for a bit longer, I thought there might have been other humourous moments when she was only eating salad, or gorging herself on meat and cheese on the Atkins diet. This is my only criticism of this book really thougg. It's a super fun read with plenty of substance, humour and romance and perfect reading for when you begin a January diet of your own. I can wait to see more from this author!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 March 2014
Ruth lives with her friends Theo and Billy, she's overweight and miserable and to top everything off it'll soon be her school reunion. She hasn't forgotten her devastation ten years before when Zack, the boy of her dreams, humiliated her in front of all the cool kids, and now Ruth is determined to lose weight and go to the reunion looking stunning. She puts into action her plan to diet and exercise her way to her goal weight, but somehow her life doesn't go the way she expects it to.

I love the way Jennifer Joyce writes and thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this book and getting to know Ruth, with her colourful sense of style; Ruth's friend Erin, who has enough confidence for both of them, and Jared, her gorgeous new colleague, whose story was heart-breaking.

A fantastic novel, I look forward to reading her next book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 January 2014
I loved this book! Jennifer has such a beautiful style. You get drawn in to the story and the characters with such ease.

Ruth is a woman that I wanted to be my best friend. She has issues just like we all do. The people in her life are so much like the people that I know and the binds she gets herself in to are so funny and real!

I love the way Jennifer describes Ruth's clothes. I want dresses like hers! Gorgeous flair for fashion! Ruth is a great lead character. She taught me that beauty really does come from within, no matter what size or shape you are. I went to my dance class with my head held higher than usual after finishing this book! I pushed myself a little bit harder and I felt wonderful for it!

This is a great read for any woman who ever doubts herself or what might have been! 8/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I loved this book it so funny I loved all the diet Ruth try to do I just lost weight my self and I could see myself getting on the scale each week to see what I done a very easy to read book you get to see Ruth diets from each character point if view which it very good the book so well written you can smell the cabbage soup like all the things she try a fab book I tell you all to read please check my blog or Facebook page for a full review ajbookreviewclub ajbookreviewclub.wordpress.com.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 April 2014
Loved this book! It's been a while since I read chicklit, but this reminded me of everything I love about it. A Beginner's Guide To Salad made me laugh out loud more times than I can count, and there were a few twists and turns I didn't see coming, even though I thought I had it all figured out!

A new chicklit superstar has been born! Great work, Jennifer Joyce!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2014
This isn't my usual read but I really enjoyed it, it made me laugh and cry the characters are believable so are the situations Ruth finds herself in most women will identity with all the diets. Jennifer is a talented New writer and I am looking forward to her next book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 March 2014
I started this book thinking it wasn't my type of reading, I was wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Funny, sad,& believable. Ruth is Inside
a lot of woman from teens to adult, (including myself as a teen) Jennifer is a very gifted writer.Roll on her next book.
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