It's Got to be Perfect: the memoirs of a modern-day matchmaker Paperback – 1 Sep 2013
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'As deliciously gossipy as it gets' --Sadie Nicholas, journalist
'High drama and lots of laughs' --Susan Quilliam, Fabulous Magazine
'Hilarious and so very, very true' --James Preece, The Dating Guru
About the Author
Haley was born in London in 1977, with a big heart, big feet and big ideals. In 2005, she set up what turned out to be the UK's biggest matchmaking agency. She has since sold it and drunk the proceeds. She lives in Battersea with her husband James, a wine merchant and consequent enabler of her habit, their twin girls and a scruffy hound called Rufus. She spends her days chasing her toddlers around the house, trying to write but mostly just messing about on Twitter.
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I have honestly never laughed so much whilst reading a book in my entire life. It was so funny, and cleverly written. I absolutely adored it. I think every person who reads this book would agree with me. There's just so much truth to the story and frankness with which author Haley Hill introduces us to the men and women of the world who wish to find their perfect match.
The story was written to absolute perfection. Haley Hill's writing style was absolutely brilliant, and Ellie's internal narrative was so much fun to read and so cleverly put together, that I would read another book by this author in a heartbeat. As well as it being light relief to read, I also thought that it was realistic and relatable to people today.
What I really loved about this book is how Haley Hill took the story to the next level by making the hope of a `happily ever after' less likely. This really made me connect to the story in a way that I often don't with this sort of chick lit. Being able to sympathise with the desire for a `happily ever after' I felt so in tune with the characters, both the clients, and Ellie when her relationship with Nick begins to sour.
Ellie and Nick's courtship is great to read for any romantic, yet I was more devastated than I usually am in books when their relationship ended four years later. It was a stark reminder that not everybody gets their happy ending with the person they love, and that sometimes we have to get through life alone. I was so desperate to see these characters reconcile and the connection to the characters Haley Hill gave me with her incredible writing, made the story even more emotional and heartfelt.
An extra fun part of this book was seeing what the clients wanted in their perfect partner. It gave a hilarious realisation to see that today we tend to have a shopping list for what we want in a partner, the most common being their appearance. Whilst some were more extreme than others (I laughed so much at some of the clients preferences), it shows that love tends to be a second thought despite how romantic many people are today.
Overall this was a fantastic read and is on my list of favourite books of all time. I have never laughed so much in my life, and would buy this book for my girlfriends for birthdays and christmas. 5 Stars!
So it was with mixed expectations that I ordered a copy of It's Got to be Perfect. Would my stereotypes be proven true? It declared itself to be about love and matchmaking. There was a large amount of pink on the front cover. Would I open the book and be assaulted with an onslaught of glittery butterflies and nail polish tips?
Well I finished it just after midnight last night and I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The story centres around a certain Ellie Rigby. A series of events takes place (I won't go into detail, you'll just have to buy it) that results in her deciding to become a matchmaker. London is full of single people and she is going to be the one who will help them find true love. We see her business grow from nothing to something, sharing in the journeys of a plethora of single-and-ready-to-mingle people along the way.
Ellie is a character that I think most people could relate to. She is fun to spend time with on the page. The book being written in the first-person really adds to the relationship we develop with her as readers. We get a close look at her feelings, her reactions and her reflections to the different experiences she faces and situations she ends up in. She's out to help people but she's a flawed and human heroine too. Her own love life is unfolds and implodes too. She needs help as much as those she's helping. I found myself rooting for her, caring about her and laughing with her.
The book takes an interesting turn about halfway through and, whilst I perhaps enjoyed the first half more, I admire the frankness, honesty and bravery of the second half. Haley could have gotten away with presenting love as a land where the bees have no sting and the roses have no thorns but she doesn't. We see both the joy and the pain. We see what happens after the happily ever after. We see characters navigating the dark waters of heartbreak and journeying from easy chemistry and to real commitment. We aren't just presented with glorified clichés; Haley depicts relationships as multi-dimensional and love as multi-faceted. As a result the book goes beyond throwaway Chick Lit and becomes something greater.
It's Got to be Perfect is easy for almost anybody to slip into and read. It's packed full of humour, slapstick comedy, heart-breaking moments, joyful moments and characters to fall in love with. In fact it's so easy to slip into and devour that I finished it within four days!
Barely a scene passed where I couldn't relate to the characters, what they were going through or where I wasn't interested to see what was going to happen. The writing was sharp, adding layers of emotion and reality to the characters and humour to the different things going on. I was even treated to two references to Batman, something that made me smile.
The nature of the story requires there to be a lot of characters. It doesn't disappoint. Sometimes it can be hard to keep track of them all. From time to time a character would reappear after a lengthy absence and I would wonder who they were. It is to Haley's credit that she manages to balance the characters so well, reminding us of who they all are we need her to and giving them all their own distinct personalities, arcs and quirks (and when I say distinct, I do mean that. Some of the characters are almost polar opposites of each other). For some the number of characters will be a positive thing. They fill the book with humour, activity and life. There's someone for everyone to relate to. For others it could be a hurdle.
There was the occasional error in the book - a comma instead of a full stop, for instance - but these were infrequent enough that they didn't detract from the whole. Hopefully they can be dealt with in future editions of the book.
I really didn't know what to expect picking up this book. In retrospect, I'm glad that I read it. It may have been written from the female perspective but there's plenty for us guys to relate to. This is the sort of book that almost anybody could read and enjoy. Order yourself a copy, read it and then get in line for Haley's next book!
Rating: 9/10 (round it up to 5 stars)
I couldn't put it down from the moment I opened it, and I just didn't want it to end.
The book provides just enough of the usual comedy romance to keep you fulfilled, without being predictable or empty. Amongst the lighthearted stories and anecdotes were several nuggets of insight and plenty of food for thought.
Overall, an absolute pleasure to read.