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Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About Paperback – 14 May 2003

3.9 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (14 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340821159
  • ISBN-13: 978-2253056249
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,781,615 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

In his weekly Guardian column, Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About, Mil Millington archly chronicles the domestic dialectical antagonisms of life with his German partner, Margret. Although this novel, confusingly, shares the same title as the column and its central characters, Pel Dalton and Ursula Krötenjäger, are an Anglo-German couple not averse to disagreement, it is, without wishing to make a blindingly obvious point, a work of fiction. Millington's customarily whimsical take on contemporary gender relations is, of course, much in evidence but some of the sharper comedy here actually occurs beyond the familial settings. In certain respects the book has possibly more in common with the wry, mild-mannered satire of the Ealing films or David Nobbs' Reginald Perrin than the novels of Tony Parsons, Nick Hornby and co. (At one point Millington, though no doubt entirely unintentionally, even pilfers a classic Perrin gag.)

The book's narrator and protagonist, Pel, is a slightly hapless father of two who works in a library, or in modern parlance a "Learning Centre", at the University of North-Eastern England ("UoNe to its friends"). When his boss Terry Steven Russell ("TSR") vanishes from the University not long after babbling about extradition treaties during a game of Lazer Wars, Pel is promoted to Computer Team Administration, Software Acquisition and Training Manager (or "CTASATM" for short.) While the post pays no more money and he still has to do his old job as well, it does mean his partner Ursula, an affectionate if exacting German, can forge ahead with long-cherished plans to move house. Needless to say neither moving nor dealing with disgruntled colleagues and negotiating the university's slippery corporate structure prove easy. But as the latter finds Pel embroiled in acting as courier for the Triads, presiding over a scheme to build a new extension over a historical burial site and hiding a deadly nerve gas under its foundations, what he and his girlfriend argue about rather pales into insignificance. --Travis Elborough --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

Millington takes us to the place where relationships go bad, but never forgets the humour (Latest Homes)

A brilliantly written comedy. A novel that manages to be both funny and affectionate (Guardian)

Cringingly familiar, devastatingly funny . . . definitely one for fans of Nick Hornby and Tony Parsons (Mango Book Club website)

With his tear-inducing humour, Millington has tapped into the zeitgeist, Helen Fielding-style. (Vogue)

Laugh out loud funny, realistic, insightful and thoroughly entertaining (Courier)

While books that claim to be 'laugh-out-loud funny' are legion, ones such as this that actually are are rarer than molars on a Rhode Island Hen . . . There is little to say about coupledom that is not wittily and often movingly explored here. Sharply-written, brilliantly observed and absolutely hilarious. (Wendy Holden, Daily Mail)

A fantastic debut - a funny and heart-warming comedy about love, fatherhood and being in the wrong places at all the wrong times. (Essentials)

Highlights just how painful love can be and just how much its precious memories should be valued (The Week)

Insightful and wickedly funny. (Heat)

The plot escalates with all the shameless hyperbole needed to fuel a really good row . . . This is a very funny book. (Observer)

Compulsive reading . . . drenched in self-deprecating humour. (Metro)

Mil Millington's comic timing is spot-on in this laugh-out-loud warm-hearted and engaging novel. (Publishing News)

A very funny look at relationships. (Company)

It's impossible not to laugh out loud at the Anglo-German quips and world-weary observations that tumble off the page (Guardian)

A brilliant, thoroughly urbane hoot (The Big Issue in the North)

A funny and touching read (Hello)

Hilarious and insightful . . . Realistic and acerbic, this first novel is bound to receive a lot of attention. (Bookseller)

Mil Millington's legendary bust-ups with his long-term lover . . . have now spawned a madcap novel. (In Style)

It's really funny (Daily Express)

A surprise hit . . . a quirky little comedy. (Mirror)

Guaranteed to raise a smile (Irish News)

Funny . . . moves at a cracking pace (Sunday Mirror)

A comedy of relationships in all their confusions (Sunday Life)

I don't normally quote for fiction, but as clearly all Mil has done in the way of fiction here is change the name 'Mil' to the name 'Pel', I have no compunction whatsoever in pointing out that this is completely hilarious. (Jenny Colgan)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
You may have read Mil Millington's column in the Weekend magazine of Saturday's Guardian, or his original list of things he and his girlfriend argue about on his website. If so, or if not, this book will make you laugh. So what if he has taken the 'write what you know' adage to its extreme? Funny is funny however you look at it - and this is very, very funny. My girlfriend brought home the book, read it first and then suggested I read it. The last book we both read was a road atlas, via torchlight, on a Pembrokeshire country lane. That we both thought Things... was a great read is testament to its characters and, best of all, the dialogue of the two leads. If you don't recognise anything of your own relationship in the superbly funny disputes, then you must be Posh or Becks. Ultimately, though, this is about two people very much in love dealing with everyday stuff. Everyday stuff that made me, and my girlfriend, laugh more than anything we've read this year. It misses out on five stars only because it couldn't help us decide who cleans the bathroom next. I definitely did it last time...
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Format: Paperback
This is a funny book - and will annoy people. It won't annoy the reader, but you will be getting up the noses of those around you. Frankly, no-one likes to be on public transport sat next to a person who's grinning like an idiot, giggling, and has tears running down their face.
And being nudged by this person and then asked to read a bit is even worse.
Also, do not read this book in the loo either. It is still not socially acceptable to be heard laughing from inside a toilet (especially when alone).
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Format: Paperback
And other wonderfully hernia-inducing hilarious lines.... Things My Girlfriend And I Have Argued About... you've seen the website, now buy the book. Mil Millington is a genius. He's got to be the funniest man alive. I laughed and laughed... quite unashamedly and loudly whilst being glared at by my fellow commuters.
Pel is the kind of guy that women dread. He's a loafer; a drifter. He just "is". There is no preconceived ambition to his life and the things that happen to him could quite possibly happen to a person like him because he is out of control. This is where Ursula comes in and this is why they argue. Ursula spends 85% of her time having no concept of reason which is what makes her utterly uproariously funny, because when she DOES display reasonable tendencies, she uses her rapier tongue to flay Pel (and anyone else who comes within striking distance) alive. Please see the passage about the roofers. I about wet my pants.
The other character that is essential to the success of this book in my view is the Vice Chancellor. Mil's descriptive wording as the Vice Chancellor details his hangovers are pure medicine. You'll laugh so hard, you're eyes will bulge. The Vice Chancellor rocks!
Stop procrastinating and go and buy this book. It's damned funny and I can't wait for Mil Millington to write something else (cereal packets, government health warnings... if he writes it, I'll read it)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Finished this book but didn't really enjoy it, found the main character somewhat irritating and although there may be books which just take a snapshot of life rather than having a definite plot or interesting tale to tell, I didn't think that this was one of them.
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By Four Violets TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback
This book deserves five stars because its quite simply hilarious. I haven't laughed so much reading a book for ages, and a truly funny book is a rare find. While the title refers of course to the bickering between Pel and his German wife Ursula, (everyone in a relationship argues constantly, insists Pel, its normal) the University setting and ludicrous situations the academics find themselves in reminded me of Tom Sharpe's Wilt books. There is rarely a page without something like: "There's nothing so heartbreaking as a look of misery on a man with a moustache - as if his face hasn't got enough troubles." and... "Brian had a head of rich, auburn hair. It was quite clearly someone else's hair..."

This book is so full of visual gags its crying out to be made into a film - perhaps it already is being, and that could explain the abruptness of the ending, totally unresolved as everything is. Does Part Two await?
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Format: Paperback
Good stuff first: very funny throughout. Sharply observed and well-written on the family relationships that define us all. Some really touching passages, especially on the children. Worth reading for these reasons.
My criticisms, though, are that the plot is ultimately unsatisfying. Pel gets into trouble, but it's nothing he's done that puts him there, he's just (very) unlucky. He does little or nothing to get himself out of the problems, and nothing is resolved. It's like some sort of plot has been grafted on to make the (really funny) situations (shopping, work, parent's evening, buying a house) hang together. As a novel it doesn't work. As a series of picaresque situations, it's really very funny.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you've come across Mil Millington's web-site that chronicles the strangeness of his real girlfriend (Margret) then you will already be familiar with the book's witty style. Ursula, the girlfriend in the book, does bare an uncanny resemblance to Margret.
This book had me sniggering from the first page with its rich, sarcastic humour. There's plenty of observations on life here and many of them hit home for me.
If you are looking for some really funny reading - this book is a must.
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