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on 3 July 2014
LOVE. Folks often say it's an adventure (when they're not complaining, of course. Mostly, they're complaining).

What if your choices were laid out for you, though? Make a decision, see how it pans out and hit rewind when, not if, it all goes horribly, horribly wrong?

Well whaddaya know? Welcome to Romantic Misadventures. Written by the guy who had an anonymous column in the Guardian Newspaper, allowing complete strangers to vote for his next romantic decision each week. Decisions which took him across the Atlantic, to the far reaches of coach routes, and the outer edges of his own best interests.

So, as befits a memoir written in the style of a first-person 'choose your narrative' adventure story (the kind you loved as a kid and still kinda miss, shush), here are your options:

a) You want to know if this is going to be funny. Forget everything else; you're looking for a laugh. Turn to number 5

b) You wouldn't knock a giggle, but this is a book about love and romance. Are you going to learn anything, you know, kinda helpful? Turn to number 10

c) You're curious and looking for something deeper, maybe some confirmation that you're not alone in feeling insecure, or are simply baffled by love. Turn to number 15

d) TL:DR - FFS DO I BUY IT OR NOT? Turn to number 20

5) Of course it's funny. You follow him on Twitter, right? So you already know he's got a way with words, an unfailing ability to land himself right in it, and the kind of unflinching honesty that makes you cross your legs and wince a bit. Yeah, that. And we're not even talking about the time he squeezed his 6'3” frame into a lycra costume made for a 7 year old. But should you buy it? Turn to number 20.

10) Yeah, you are. Kinda. Mostly, what not to do (sorry, Kit). But in seeing his mistakes (and occasional triumphs), you'll have a better idea of what to avoid. Or, at the very least, know that you're not alone.

In fact, if you're waiting for someone to text you RIGHT NOW and are thinking of breaking a million cardinal rules and FREAKING OUT AND CYBER STALKING THEM or indulging in some frantic (possibly drunken) texting; you need to put down that phone, poppet. Pick this book up instead. Let Kit keep you company until your own romantic misadventures seem vastly less important. It's what he's here for. You're welcome. So should you buy it? Turn to number 20.

15) * Puts on corduroy jacket with leather elbow patches * You have no doubt that it's going to be funny. Kit's the kind of writer where bad stuff comes in, and funny just falls out. But between the lines, between the escapades and near escapes, you'll also find an honest portrait of a modern man. A man who is racked by insecurity. Who regularly fails to speak up for himself. Who people-pleases, who doesn't think things through, who finds the challenge of simply going up to someone in a coffee shop and giving them his number perhaps the most challenging of all the challenges set by the Guardian readers.

Seeing such self-defeating behaviour writ large will act as a mirror for you to notice the similarities, the parallels, in your own and others' behaviour. Despite the occasionally dubious moral choices, you'll feel empathy towards a man who has such a lack of ease with himself, and who shares it so openly. You'll find an ugly duckling who craves the transformational love of another to finally, finally, make him a swan. And you'll be left hoping that he realises, especially after the moving epilogue, that he truly was that swan, all along. So, should you buy it? Turn to number 20.

20) Yes. Yes, you should. Did you not see the five stars??
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on 24 June 2014
Some of you might know Kit Lovelace's Guardian column, where he let readers choose options in his romantic life each week. The book version is based on that story, but expanded and in brilliant 'choose your own adventure' format. I was a huge fan of those books as a kid, but choosing bad romantic decisions is much more fun than killing orcs.

Despite some of the morally questionable choices throughout the book (seriously, I feel pretty bad for Hayley), this is a hilarious modern love story that's actually quite heartwarming in the end. Despite yourself, you can't help root for the hapless narrator who flies across the world to meet a total stranger in the name of romance. Buy this book, make the narrator pick terrible choices and feel reassured that you've never done anything as bad in your own romantic adventures.
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on 11 July 2014
An absolutely excellent read from start to finish. The mysteriously monikered 'Kit Lovelace' tells a beguilingly lovelorn tale of the many false alarms suffered on the way to true love, but his witty and engaging style is so vivid that his adventures read less as the blunderings of a buffoon and more as the likeable meanderings of a decent chap out of his depth in the weird world of contemporary dating. You'll laugh, you'll cry and then you'll read it all over again.
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on 20 June 2014
This book would have been a solid 4 stars had it merely been told in a linear fashion but the choose-your-own-adventure aspect takes it to another level. Found myself at a constant dilemma about whether to choose the sensible course of action or the choice that would probably lead to a better anecdote (much like my own decisions in life). The writing itself is Carrie Bradshaw with less pride. Amazing.
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on 10 July 2014
I genuinely didn't know what to expect from this book but it was brilliantly, joyously funny and inventive. The jokes landed, the gut punches left me genuinely scrabbling for breath and Lovelace is a natural storyteller. The concept of choose-your-own-adventure shouldn't work, but it does. Spectacularly so.

Would recommend to all and sundry.
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on 3 October 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed Kit's self depreciating comic style. It made a week's worth of commutes go by in a flash (apologies to my fellow commutes who had to suffer snorts of laughter all week). Absolutely brilliant.
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