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on 5 August 2002
I finished this book last night and felt compelled to write a review to say how fantastic I thought it was. I enjoyed Love is a Four Letter word but was disappointed with Lessons for a Sunday Father. This was by far the best Claire Calman book yet. I really identified with the relationship between the sisters as well as the family as a whole. The humour was evident throughout and I liked the flashbacks to childhood as well as the relationship between Leo and Georgia.I found myself laughing out loud through a lot of the book!
Overall an excellent read - I couldn't put it down yesterday and am looking forward to her next one!
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on 22 May 2002
Georgina Abrams is the protaganist in the latest book from Claire Calman. She is not as instantly likable as Bella in Love is a Four Letter Word, but nonetheless, Calmans wit and excellent story-telling ensure you reach a point where you care not only about Georgina, but all of the familiy, and the lovely Leo too....
Georgina is already engaged to Stephen, and is heading towards a lifetime of boredom but security, until the arrival of Leo in the apartment building reminds her that life is for living. This may not be anything new in the genre, but it is the Abrams familial circumstances that give this novel more depth.
As in her previous novel, Calman makes much of the relationship between the lead character and her mother. In this instance, the influence of the maternal relationship has had the profoundest of effects on Georgina, since her mother died whilst Georgina was just 10, leaving her forever as a substitute mother within the family.
Calman writes with great sympathy and keen wit. There is predictability in her novels, but only of the most enjoyable kind, where the outcome is what you desperately wish for. I devour her novels in one sitting, and feel deserted at the end - Claire Calman is a shining example in a tiring genre.
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on 20 June 2002
Perhaps it's the fact that "Love is a Four-Letter Word" is such an exceptional book that I'm forever spoiled but, while I found "I Like It Like That" to be entertaining, it was not as thoroughly enjoyable a read as either of Calman's other novels.
"I Like It Like That" is a story of personal growth and what one expects out of life, but it seemed somewhat more superficial than both Calman's other novels. Not as superficial as other authors can be, to be sure, but it seemed to me that the characterizations in this novel were not as fully developed as in her others. I felt that Leo and Stephen were more plot devices than people.
All in all, it's better than most books out there, but it's not Calman's best.
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Georgia Abrahams grew up in a chaotic household - and when her mother died became its main organising force. Her designer father David never puts anything away (except in piles according to his strange filing system), her stepmother Quinn is a neo-Pagan with dangly earrings who cooks everything with lentils and has a vaguely 'artistic' job. Her sister Ellen is a part-time jewellery designer and part-time waitress still trying to find herself at 28, with a new boyfriend and new emotional disaster each week. Her brother Matt sometimes seems less able to cope with life than his small children. Georgia runs them all (up to a point) and despite her grumbles loves it, and her small, calm studio flat that she can retreat to, and her job as a relationship counsellor. She thinks too that she loves her boyfriend Stephen (with a ph), a Management Consultant who has all the orderliness and competence that her family hath not. Until, that is, she meets gentle bohemian photographer and single parent Leo, and begins to realize what falling in love really is. But to give in to Leo would be letting go - and Georgia doesn't ever let go, does she?

I didn't particularly enjoy Calman's first novel, and couldn't get into her second - so was delighted to find how much I enjoyed this. It's light fiction, but it's beautifully written for long periods. The descriptions of Georgia's family's chaotic home are hilarious, and her family are a wonderful larger-than-life clan. Her growing intimacy with Leo and Leo's daughter (the children in this book are brilliantly portrayed) is very moving and luxurious - like sinking into a warm scented bath - and I loved the cat Blossom. Georgia's struggles with her chaotic sister Ellen were amusing (I loved the 'how Ellen makes tea' paragraph) as were Ellen and Matt's constant attempts to bait Stephen. And though I felt we could have had a little more about Georgia's past and her relationship with her Mum and less 'how do I choose my man' the book was pretty well paced too.

My only quibbles were that Stephen was so irritating that I can't believe Georgia would have stuck him that long (after all, she's always counselling her clients that it's better to be alone than with the wrong person), that I felt some of the more serious issues in the book (Georgia's relationship with her stepmother and what happened to her mother) were slightly skimmed over to keep the tone light, and that I felt Calman went a bit over-the-top with one of the late scenes, when Georgia finally lets go. Sure, Georgia needed to drop some of her obsessions and control-freakery, but is getting maudlin drunk really that much preferable? Calman almost seemed to be saying that Ellen had a better attitude to life than Georgia because she was so wild and spontaneous and that it was great that Georgia was being like her - whereas, though she was endearing, I actually found her quite irritating and immature.

Still, a warm and witty read by a writer of talent, and great if you're looking for something light that's also emotionally intelligent. It's a shame that Calman seems to have stopped writing - she was getting better and better.
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on 3 August 2002
After finishing "Love is a four-letter-word" in a matter of hours, I immediately ordered Claire Calman's other books. "I like it like that" was the one I got to first, & in many ways it didn't disappoint. But if I were to be honest, I'd have to agree with other reviewers- "Love is a four-letter-word" is a little bit better. And I think, for a very simple reason: Bella & Will are both drawn really clarly in that book, with us knowing them well when we get to the last page. On the other hand, here, in "I like it like that", we get to know Georgia, Ellen & the whole family well...but not Leo or Stephen.

OK, the story: Georgia is a counsellor, lives in a tinier-than-tiny flat in London, has a great big noisy, chaotic but lovely family & a fiance who's the complete opposite: Stephen is uptight, pretentious, bossy, predictable, organized & tidy & worst of all boring. Georgia is also a perfectionist & a tidiness-freak, but apart from that, I couldn't really see (during the whole book) what on earth she found in Stephen, especially after she'd met Leo the Wonderful. That's basically why I felt the 2 men (as another reviewer mentioned) were kind of like plot devices. Not that this makes the book less enjoyable. It's just that "Love is a four-letter-word" was much more special.

What's really good about this book is Georgia's family. Georgia, Ellen & Matt have lost their mother when they were 10, & since then Georgia has kind of taken up the role of being the perfect, mother-like one (that explains her relationship with her younger sister). The book describes, in wonderful detail, the complicated relationship between Georgia & Ellen, & also between Georgia & her long-gone mother. These relationships are the strength of the book, & yes, of course, also the relationship between Georgia & Leo. Which, for my taste, develops in maddeningly slow pace, for no reason whatsoever (& Stephen doesn't count as a reason).

This kind of book is pure, undiluted fun & Claire Calman will go on writing, I hope, for years & years, giving us books such as these for those long, gloomy, rainy days.
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on 15 January 2003
What a treat! Claire Calman's sympathetic and witty book - gulped down with much chuckling and enjoyment - totally transformed what would have been a gloomy December Sunday. I particularly loved all the family stuff (it really drew me in) and the relationship between Georgia and her sister is explored with insight and humour. And although Georgia leaving tight-arsed Stephen for Leo is predictable, it's also satisfying - indeed I'd have been very miffed if it had gone another way! More seriously, the central character's journey of self-discovery, her realization that she doesn't in fact want the things she always thought she wanted, is something many of us can relate to. I know I can. I Like It Like That is a delightful read.
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on 18 November 2002
I had to read this for a book promo day and found the first 100 pages to be totally predictable. As a male, I have never read a chick lit book before, and I found this to be hackneyed and stereotyped in regard to the male characters. It picked up after the yawn inducing beginning but the last chapters returned to the sudsy predictability of the beginning. The way the stepmother Quinn was depicted was a disgrace. My heart went out to that woman who had to suffer abuse from the insufferable middle class snobs who inhabit this book. As disposable as a sink full of washing up liquid.
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on 8 February 2003
What a treat! Claire Calman’s sympathetic and witty book - gulped down with much chuckling and enjoyment - totally transformed what would have been a gloomy December Sunday. I particularly loved all the family stuff (it really drew me in) and the relationship between Georgia and her sister is explored with insight and humour..More seriously, the central character’s journey of self-discovery, her realization that she doesn’t in fact want the things she always thought she wanted, is something many of us can relate to. I know I can. I Like It Like That is a delightful read.
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on 6 October 2005
I just have to say how much I truly loved this book. I've not read anything that could vaguely be considered "chick-lit" for a while now, and I'd resigned myself to the fact that I was in fact a bit old and boring these days. Tales of girl meets boy/girl has amazing job/girl has lots of pretty friends just didnt do it for me anymore. However I'd really enjoyed previous titles by Claire Calman so I thought I'd give this one a go. It didn't disappoint - this book is witty, sensitive, and the characters are very real. I've not been able to put it down and I'm really enjoying it. Nice one Claire. Oh and PS. I especially like it because I have mad, curly, "birds nest" hair like Georgia. So there.
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on 4 September 2002
I like it like that is the perfect example of how life can change suddenly, when you least expect it, and can question you about your beliefs, your false and pretentious judgements, and can lead you to achieve your destiny.
As the novel proceeds, Georgia starts slowly changing her attitude, exploring a new sense of herself, just to find out that her happiness isn't just the safe-and-sound lifestyle she had been looking for.
Although touching in some respects, the novel wonderfully depicts this change, which is generally dramatic in everyone's lives, with wit and light humour that makes the whole process less scary and definitely enjoyable.
Who couldn't but laugh when measured with the oddities of Georgia and Stephen's families, and cannot recognise in them their own or their friends' families? Who cannot but have been part in one of the brilliant and funny dialogues between Georgia and her sister Ellen with their own siblings, once at least?
And as life from black-and-white turns into a colourful rainbow for Georgia, we are also questioning ourselves, and maybe learning to be a bit more self-indulgent... at least, I did!
I would recommend it to anyone looking for some fun and a bit of a food for thought!
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