9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Not made in Chelsea!,
This review is from: West End Girls (Paperback)
I don't think Jenny Colgan has disappointed me yet. If you're looking for a light-hearted read that's not too taxing on the brain cells, but leaves you with a smile on your face at the end, then Colgan's your girl.
West End Girls is the story of Lizzie and Penny, non-identical twins in more ways than one. Out-going Penny is slim, blond and pretty, always up for a party and dreaming of more than her mundance job as a waitress, living in her mum's council house. Lizzie is quiet, mousy and plump, happy to spend her days at work for a stamp importing company and her evenings on the sofa in front of the TV, watching soaps and eating biscuits. So when their estranged paternal grandmother requests they live in her Chelsea flat whilst she is 'convalescing' in a retirement home, the girls finally think their luck has changed. London is the place to be and with a Chelsea address, how could anything possibly go wrong?
My fave characters in West End Girls were definitely Lizzie and Georges (the Portuguese sandwich shop owner who Lizzie ends up working for). Their budding relationship is made even sweeter by Lizzie's familiar worries that she is not 'good enough' and is constantly overlooked in favour of her supposedly more attractive sister. And Georges is possibly the most unconventional hero/love interest you're ever likely to meet in the pages of a book, but he won my heart in the same way as he wins Lizzie's.
In contrast, Penny is a little more difficult to take to. She spends most of the the first half of the book wrapped up in her own self-importance, determined to become 'famous' and make a name for herself, whatever the cost. But, like many chick-lit characters, she soon realises that perhaps being famous is not all it's cracked up to be. And with the introduction of mysterious artist Will, she soon realises there's more to life than parties and partying.
Secondary characters, Brooke and Minty (Lizzie and Penny's neighbours) are stereotypically drawn as Chelsea girls; designer clothes, numerous party invites (all of which are denounced as 'tedious') and a string of rich boyfriends, they spend most of their time looking down their perfect snub noses at everyone, but strangely still manage to make friends with Lizzie and Penny. I struggled to find the appeal of this pair, but luckily they don't feature too heavily or else they were in danger of becoming tedious themselves.
Overall though this is a really enjoyable read with a lovely, happy, feel-good ending. Would definitely recommend.