4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Unique - and it works!,
This review is from: Heading South (Paperback)
Written by Luke Bitmead and Catherine Richards, who met at the much-missed BBC Get Writing site, Heading South features two seemingly ill-matched main characters, Cassie, and Nick, together with an entourage of bit part players which would put any soap to shame.
Successful artist Cassie lives her life through her very own cast of Winnie the Pooh; cats called Piglet and Roo, a duck, Tigger, and her beloved dog, Pooh. You get the picture? She is passionate about her animals, but she's young, free, and single, and she can't help thinking she's missing out on something. That something comes in male shaped packages, but because of her lack of confidence, she can't quite believe it will ever arrive.
Nick on the other hand is a hapless and impulsive bloke, who stumbles through life without the map that most of us carry. As a result, he has a habit of messing up, missing opportunities, and generally being absolutely infuriating.
Thanks in part to a prank by Nick's mate, together with a black furry bundle of pup named Rooney (after Wayne), the lives of the two gradually come together, though neither can quite believe the reality. Cassie is still hankering after the utterly beautiful and totally unsuitable Andrew, while Nick is enmeshed with his ex, Danielle, in a love/hate relationship which threatens to destroy everything...
Heading South was written as an experiment by its authors, who wanted to see whether men could write from a women's point of view, and women from a man's. The book was written `in record time by email and telephone conversations' and I think that shows. There's masses of energy in the writing, it's hugely engaging, and some of it is very funny. Catherine's scene where Nick takes tea with his elderly neighbours for instance is a masterpiece of comic timing on the page which had me laughing out loud.
The scenes are written in tandem, the delightful Cassie giving us her view of things, balanced by Nick giving us his. I expected the experiment to intrude. It didn't. I expected disparity between the voices - there was none. This is one experiment which has worked brilliantly, with the authors carrying off their respective roles to great effect. Sadly, Luke didn't live to see publication. He died in October 2006, aged just 34 years old, and amazingly, given the symmetry in the writing, he and Catherine never met.
Heading South is indeed a `sparkling romantic comedy', perfect for summer reading, and sharing.
Zoe King, (Cadenza magazine)for WriteWords