- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: W&N; New Ed edition (26 Jan. 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0753820730
- ISBN-13: 978-0753820735
- Product Dimensions: 18 x 2.7 x 20.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 53 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 58,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About Paperback – 26 Jan 2006
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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.
"[A] brilliantly-written comedy . . . both funny and affectionate." --"The Guardian" "There is little to say about coupledom that is not wittily and often movingly explored here. Sharply-written, brilliantly-observed and absolutely hilarious." --"Daily Mail" "A funny and heart-warming comedy about love, fatherhood and being in the wrong places at all the wrong times."--"Essentials"See all Product description
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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?
Published in 2002 `GF' is a slice of Lad Lit from its era. The computer concepts are truthful, but dated, and the references hark back to a past and more innocent age (of 2001). Although fashions may come and go, relationships are always relevant, therefore the book should still work. Based in some part on Millington's own life `GF' works best when it is a series of arguments between Pel and his alluring, yet disturbing, girlfriend Ursula. There is the tone of truth here and although they are a little more forceful than the loved ones in my life, the arguments seem based on solid rational and irrational facts.
Where the book struggles is in creating a compelling narrative upon which to stitch these arguments. The book becomes a weird conspiracy comedy as Pel sinks deeper into a University wide corruption scandal and rather than concluding well, the storyline fizzles towards the end. I also found the character of Pel a little too witty. I know this is fiction and therefore in definition not real, but I found Pel was always too ready with a witty quip and biting aside. Being so funny and cynical 24 hours a day would drive a real person insane. Millington tries too hard to make Pel funny all the time, a touch more reality would have helped the book.
Despite the narrative being almost none existent, there are enough chuckles in the book and a true enough relationship at the centre for it to work. I also found some of the references to Library life well observed, but this will appeal to an increasingly small number of people.
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).
Based on his webpage, the book is a stunningly funny view at one oddball relationship and how the things that make you made are also the things that keep you sane when the world is crashing down around your ears. Throw in the Triads and enough neurotoxin to wipe out Western Europe, and you've got a book that you genuinely will not be able to put down until you come to the end.
Seriously, you need to read this book.
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I like it, I'd recommend it, but only at a cheap price.
Some of his online articles are funnier, but then, they don't have a plot / story.
If people live their lives like this, then no wonder the world is in a mess.Read more