on 7 May 2000
There's absolutely no way anyone can compare this book to the influx of "Bridget Jones Lookalikes" that have flooded the market over the past couple of years. I bought this book because I was intrigued by the description on the back, but I can honestly say it doesn't do it justice. I found this book one of the most compelling, heartbreaking and exciting I've ever read. If anyone's ever been in the position Connie finds herself in, you will smile when you recognise yourself in Adele Park's achingly good descriptions of the highs and lows that go with the territory of having an affair. It's so well written and sensitively true to life, that I felt throughly disappointed when I'd finished it. Not because the ending wasn't good - but because I couldn't read it anymore. Accusing "Playing Away" of being a "girly book" is a travesty. Thank you Adele, for writing something that I could have written myself if only I had the talent. An absolutely brilliant book.
on 7 June 2000
What a read, everything, from the humour, the lust, the friends- to the 'big affair' was compelling. i was amused, touched, romanced, saddened and thrilled by the story, from start to finish. My attention was grasped from the prologue and just didnt let go, it was easy to relate with Connie and feel her feelings, think her thoughts. We all have friends to whom we can match with Connies and Adele Parks manner of describing her characters is excellent, giving her reader the full picture. This is the first book to have made me shed a tear, and as soon as i reached the end i turned back to the beginning, wanting to relive the whole story all over again. However, my sister in law has tonight dragged the book, from my reluctant grasp with the promise of returning it when she has read it.........................will i ever see it again! Aaaaarrrggghh!
on 5 July 2008
Playing away is written in the eyes of one person (Connie), the story is very easy to follow and is based around a group of friends living in London, This was a very easy book to read and did not require much imagination to feel involved with the characters.
I felt that the novel was not very inspiring and so therefore bored me somewhat, this is not to say it is not everyone's cup of tea. Connie's seemingly perfect marriage does not give purpose to her affair so therefore did confuse me as to why the affair happened in the first place.
I also felt that the characters in the novel had endless supplies of money, indulged in too much alcohol and regularly used the lesser favourable of swear words. As far as I am concerned there is no passion in the novel and so I found it hard to become indulged in the book itself. I feel that the follow on story `Young wives tales' may be more inspiring as the characters are now developed.
All in all I wouldn't suggest that anyone would refrain from reading this novel but not to have too many high expectations before commencing a read.
I read this over the bank holiday weekend and I did enjoy it even though I felt very uncomfortable at times.
It tells the story of Connie, who is very happily married to Luke. They have a whole army of friends that differ emensely and keep the plot interesting. Connie is by all accounts though, a very selfish and conceited woman. I began the book feeling some sort of compassion towards her and ended up hating her guts in places.
She decides to embark on an adulterous affair with a horridly smarmy and slimy guy from work and proceeds to throw caution to the wind. I felt completely awful for her poor, unknowing husband throughout.
Without wanting to give the entire plot away, I would like to say that I am glad that I read this book, but I did find it a little slow going in places. I am pleased with the overall outcome of the story but I, perhaps being a bit more cynical than those involved directly, would have chosen a different ending.
It made me really sit up and wonder about all those who have affairs, and truely marvel at how they can be so deceitful. The way I look at it is, if you want to have an affair then maybe you should rethink your marriage before embarking on one.
Adele Parks is very clever with the way she has written this as your feelings towards Connie swing from like to dislike so frequently. I have to admit though that I did dislike her more!!!
I suggest this title to those who aren't looking for romance so much as a fly on the wall type story. All in all though it was a good read.
on 14 June 2005
For anyone blissfully married, not so happily married or looking for a bit of excitement...needs to read this book. Fantastic and entertaining. Pulitzer Prize winning, NO...Extremly fun, YES!!
it took very little time to read this fab little novel. When I got to the last page of this little gem, I looked at my husband in a whole new light...Thank goodness for small miracles!!!!
It managed to capture the true feelings of what it is like being in a marriage and thinking the grass is greener on the other side. Believe me, read the book, it is safer than having an affair.
on 23 January 2015
Over the years, I've become quite a fan of the chick-lit and bloke-lit genres. It's one of those guilty pleasures, in which you know every time you pick the book up that you should be reading something with a bit more depth but you just don't quite have the will power to let go. Fortunately, I think I may just have found the book to cure my addiction to the genre.
A couple of years ago, I was given a free book on the purchase of a travel guide. This book, Adele Parks' "Playing Away", sat unwanted and unloved upon my shelf until a friend who has similar reading tastes to me mentioned she was a big fan of the author. Given that our tastes coincide in so many ways, I figured it couldn't hurt to give it a try. If only I had known then what I know now.
Connie is married to Luke and has been for the last year, she believes happily. However, life is becoming stale so when she meets John Harding at a work conference, she struggles to resist. Then, when she meets him again at a similar event, she fails. For Connie, meeting John Harding is lust at first sight and although she is at first determined not to sleep with him, her resistance soon crumbles. She throws herself headlong into an affair with him, making sure her husband doesn't find out and even keeping the secret from some of her closest friends for fear they would neither understand nor approve.
What follows is tedious in its predictability. Not just in Connie's life, but in what happens to her friends. The details may not be exactly how you may have imagined or expected them to be, but in general terms, everything you would expect to happen does happen. There are no surprises to be had here and there is nothing missing. From the brief plot synopsis I gave above, you could write a list of what you would expect to happen and you would find it on your way through "Playing Away".
In addition to being predictable, it's all very vacuous. There's very little of substance here, with the whole book seeming to be a recounting of the situation as it unfolds and the conversations between friends, in both triumph and crisis for each of them. Whilst I realise I shouldn't expect too much from a chick-lit novel, this felt dumbed down even by the standards of most, so much so that I could almost feel myself losing IQ points as I read.
The characters weren't particularly well drawn and it's quite tough to sympathise with any of them, even when they are struggling with aspects of their lives. None of them seem particularly likeable and even when there comes a time where you are perhaps encouraged to sympathise with one character, or take sides after disagreements between them; I simply found that I couldn't be bothered. By that point, I was just too bored with the whole thing.
On the plus side, if you like this kind of thing, it's very simply done and it's going to be a relaxing read, in that there's not going to be much brain involvement. It's something to run your eyes over without having to put any effort into it. If you're into reading before you go to bed, this is about the perfect thing to be reading, as it's not going to leave you thinking about what you've read while you're trying to shut down and sleep and it's not as if you're going to miss out on much by being too tired to concentrate.
I'd decided before I was more than two chapters in to "Playing Away" that I hated it. I'm not sure quite what prompted me to keep going. Probably one part stubbornness and one part blind optimism that it might improve. It didn't.
Not having read any of Adele Parks' other novels, I'm not sure if this is just a really poor choice from her books or if this really is as good as she gets. Needless to say, she's not an author I shall be reading anything more of, as I'd much rather read something I'd enjoy.
If you are a fan of Adele Parks already or a fan of chick-lit, or just of reading that doesn't involve and brain work, you might just enjoy this. But be warned, my copy came free and I felt it was still over priced.
But if you value your brain in any way, please don't bother. You'll only hate yourself for it afterwards. It's bad enough to put me off reading chick-lit for good, as I can't bear the thought of stumbling across something like this again.
This review may also appear under my name at any or all of www.ciao.co.uk, www.thebookbag.co.uk, www.goodreads.com, www.amazon.co.uk and www.dooyoo.co.uk
on 3 August 2000
A friend of mine recommended this book to me and I'm certainly glad I took her up on it. Playing Away got my attention in the first few pages and held it all the way to the end - it was just so funny, frightening, sad and also true to life. Connie is not always a likeable woman, but she shows that everyone has difficult choices to make and some people get them very wrong. I recognised so much of myself and my friends in the characters and the things life is throwing at them. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a summer read that will make them laugh and cry in one go.