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on 31 August 2017
Wife pleased
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on 10 May 1999
I loved Ralph's Party, from the moment it starts to the romantic, funny ending. It's so addictive, sharp and sad, that you get hooked without realising it. The characters are great - from sweet, rosy-cheeked Jem to blonde bitch from hell Cheri and useless but adorable Karl, I believed them all.
It's basically the story of a house in Battersea, and the lives of its inhabitants, which become inextricably linked. How many of you know anything about the people who live in your house? Hardly anything, aand that's what makes this such an interesting contemporary London story, too.
It's a great book: the ideal tube read, holiday read, or novel to give to your best friend, boyfriend, girlfriend ... whoever. Just read it!
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on 29 August 2017
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on 16 March 2001
This is an excellent novel. I am a big Lisa Jewell fan, though of her two novels, I definitely feel 'Ralph's Party' is the best. To be honest, the first page didn't grab me and I picked it up and flipped through in several bookshops before finally buying one and thinking it was just another girly romance. To my surprise, I found myself reading a gripping, engrossing and intelligent read focusing on 6 fascinating characters. 24 hours later, I still couldn't put it down. This is very high-level commercial fiction - it's not like the usual romantic drivel. It discusses relationships with insight, it manages to consider male viewpoints even though the writers is female, and the female characters are not Bridget JOnes cliches who are suffering endless diets - they are strong, realistically drawn women. The plot neatly weaves together two plot strands and draws them together - agreeably, the ending is slightly contrived, but certainly very gripping and builds up a superb finale.
'Thirty-nothing' is also a good read, though not as tightly plotted, and written in a more woolley, sloppy style than this one. To my mind, 'Ralph's Party' has more insights and a better writing style than many literary novels I've read recently. The prose is descriptive, rich in images, and written with an admirable precision and control.
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on 26 September 2000
If you have enjoyed novels by authors such as Jane Green, Helen Fielding etc then you will certainly love Lisa Jewell!
Once I started reading this fantastic book I found that I could not put it down. I have since leant the book to a friend who has had exactly the same reaction!
This comes highly reccommended by me!
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on 29 August 2000
I got this book free on a magazine, thinking I may as well read it before I slate it, imagining it would be another in the Helen Fielding, Amy Jenkins et al style. NOT SO! I started reading very cynically, waiting for the cliches and the "humorous" observations that you've heard a million times before......There were none! Instead, this was warm, natural; not in the slightest bit laboured! Lisa Jewell manages to inject FRESH observations of modern living (and that alone sets this book aside from the current painful stream of hackneyed "chick-lit"). Let's not forget, we're not going for realism here - it's a STORY! These are not social studies, they are CHARACTERS! And they are good ones. Some are shallow, but not by accident (unlike Bridget and Honeymoon - characters who THINK they have something to say, and tragically don't). The others are funny, human, I was interested in them (Oh, and yes, I did fall a little bit in love with Ralph!). I liked the plot, too. Perhaps all of these things happening at the same time within such a small group of people IS unlikely - but that's where fiction comes in, is it not? And considering the number of situations and relationships she is dealing with at one time, Jewell never confuses the reader or muddles her storyline through laziness. I thought this was so well written, so enjoyable, I can't wait for "Thirty-Nothing", and am keeping my fingers crossed that Lisa doesn't have just one book in her!
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on 30 August 2017
Amusing read.
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on 27 May 2004
Sometimes 'Brit Lit' misses the mark, what with it's kick of realism, our British obsession with the movement of the bowel, and the endless 'diary entry' droning about weight, beer and the passing of wind; it's hard to find a combination that is both funny and romantic but move over Mike Gayle, Nick Hornby and all there's a new kid on the block and guess what - she's a girl!
Ralph's party is simply about how the lives of the residents of South London house connect. It's basically about whether Jemima, a bright little whimsical lodger will choose Ralph (budding artist) or Smith (budding banker) as well as if the couple that live above them (Karl and siobhan) will survive 'nearly wedded' bliss. Sounds dreary but believe me, it's a really nice little book.
Lisa Jewell tells an ordinary story about ordinary people but just as she manages to inject a bit of magic and glitter into South London life she tells a really good story simply but grippingly. Okay she gets a bit 'preachy' occationally and there are a few of her characters could have been cut down or out altogether but it's a really nice read that gets the 'man speak' - scratching your unmentionables and trying to get your head around women and love while trying NOT to look down their blouses - down pat. Story of men behaving badly, written by a girl - nice one Lisa!
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on 8 June 1999
Well done Lisa. I bought this on the strength of the Late Show review, after trying to track down a copy for ages...
I have to say the book is extremely entertaining. I read through it in one day, pausing only to make a cup of tea. I should also point out that this is not my usual reading style, although I do have very catholic tastes.
Some of the relationships are quite heart-rending, and at times you'll secretly want a less realistic turn of events. But you'll always be moved. I personally found the "rude bits" quite erotic as well - and I normally don't go for that sort of thing.
It's Quite remenisant of Notting Hill, and would make a superb film.
The only downside is that the male characters are a bit... well... not so real. But I still really liked them.
Buy it. You won't regret it.
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on 10 June 2004
I must have read this book 6 times since I bought it about 2 years ago. It never fails to appeal to me as any one of the number of characters fits my mood when I pick it up, much like a stylish and comic soap opera the plot moves fast and easy. I won't lie to you, this isn't philosophy for love's young dream but it's damn good fun.
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