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Customer Review

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, a funny and moving read, 2 Jan. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Looking for Andrew McCarthy (Hardcover)
I think Jenny Colgan's books are just getting better and better. This is by far her most ambitious novel yet, dealing in an incredibly light way with that crisis we all hit at 30, wondering if the accidents and loose decisions that took us to where we are amount to happiness or a life sentence. Then, which is riskier, to give up and join the ratrace as best you can, or to embarrass all your friends by trying to make your dreams come true? Caught in just such a dilemma, the heroine of Looking... decides to get some answers, from someone who should know. Of course, the search is the point, but both the quest and its resolution are funny, wise, and surprising. Since Colgan can make people come alive in just a quick sketch, the book is driven by its varied and vivid characters. If you can't recognise the three-dimensionality of people like Julia, Loxy, Arthur, Colin or Siobhan, then you should leave the Army. The writing is studded but not swamped with nostalgic 80s colour, and as usual with this author, it is very very funny. I was really impressed with how the book captures the feeling of being in London, LA, or New York, without ever turning into a travelogue. Jenny Colgan has a special gift for dialogue, and a way with reversals, zingers and universal themes that makes her the Douglas Adams of the romantically adrift. But where Adams fills the gaps between gags with absurdist space fantasy, Colgan has psychological depth. Consistently in her books, she hasn't been afraid to show her central characters as confused, lonely and even sad. Ellie's evolving relationships with her dad, her friends and more than one Andrew illustrate Colgan's underlying point: that events and experience can change, if not your personality, then at least your perspective. It will be interesting to see how she follows this book.
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