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on 1 August 2001
In that something like 80% of this book is dialogue, and there is very little description (we don't really know what Colin or Mandy look like, for example), it is quite quirky, and at times not all that clear to read. However, it is curiously engaging in that 2 or 3 days after reading it, you catch yourself thinking about the characters. There are, as Nick Hornby points out, some cracking one liners, but it isn't really a laugh-out-loud book, more a creeps-up-on-you-quietly story. There's an interesting twist, and Colin in particular is portrayed quite well; the female characters are weaker, and some threads could do with a little more development rather than leaving it up to the dialogue to carry everything. According to the dust jacket, its already been optioned for a film - probably would make the transition quite well.
Overall, then, enticing enough to keep you reading to the end, but perhaps a little lacking in narrative. It'll need another reading before I really make up my mind!
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VINE VOICEon 16 July 2003
I bought this as light holiday reading and that's what it is. Ultimately not really enough to get your teeth into - simple predictable plot and shallow and frankly unbelieveable characters, but amusing narrative and quirky dialogue. Easy to read at one sitting and almost instantly forgettable but passes the time pleasantly. Should make a nice "feelgood" film comedy with the right casting of the cameo roles.
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on 11 June 2004
One of the funniest, witty stories I've read in a long time.
Brit artist escapes collapsed love affair to regain equilibrium in a New England town. Webb's dialogue has not been bettered for sure-eared parody of English as she is spoke both sides of the Atlantic. I assume CW is American, and he lives in England, which explains his utter skill.
It's slated for a movie, and what a killer it'll make, and what plum parts all round.
A brilliant touch is to have sketches of the people that the central character draws and they are perfect. The temptation is to turn to the end of the chapter to see what 'Fred' (Webb's partner) has come up with. Every one a winner.
I've given it as a gift to so many loved ones and with one accord they've phoned to thank and congratulate on my unerring choice.
Of course, what else from the pen of 'The Graduate'? But this really *is* special and no one will be disappointed.
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on 22 March 2006
You know when you get hold of one of those books thats you kinda don't want to read because its not your usual type, but you give it a go because theres nothing else around to read at the time... and then by the time you've got hooked on it, read it from start to finish in a couple of days & you think "ahh, I learnt a lesson there because I really enjoyed this book" - well that was this book. Throughly enjoyable. Funny, simple but challenging enough to get you hooked. Give it a go, even if you're a boy who doesn't normally read the slushys, this one will give you something to smile about!
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