12 July 2010
Book Review: Single In The City by Michele Gorman
This is author Michele Gorman's debut novel, and it has to be said it's a pretty good one. Michele actually made the move over from America to the UK herself so I did wonder exactly how much of the book is autobiographical when I was reading it, but either way it is a great idea for a book and leant itself to a lot of comedic moments. The book was originally titled 'The Ex-Pat Diaries' but I think Single In The City suits it far better, and the cute little cartoon cover to go with it makes it pure chick-lit. It's certainly a book I would pick up off the shelf in a shop, and I think it'll definitely be popular with fans of the genre.
We join the book when Hannah has just arrived in the UK, and I immediately liked her character. She's quite a funny girl, and you can sense her confusion about her new country straight away. The funniest thing definitely has to be the language barrier between the American girl and her new British friends. Hannah has no idea at the double meaning of words over here, and also words she's never heard of so tends to get herself into a bit of a pickle. In case you don't understand why Hannah doesn't understand certain words or terms, Michele has created a footnote at the bottom of the relevant pages telling us a bit about the difference in UK/US interpretations.. this is a good idea because it helps you to understand the humour a bit more, but I have to say it did annoy me after a while!
I was worried that this book was just going to be a love story - girls meets boy, they fall in love, marry and live in the UK happily ever after. However, Michele Gorman cleverly steers the book away from a predictable storyline with the introduction of some other great characters that bring a lot to the book. I loved the character of Stacy, Hannah's best friend in the US and the phone conversations between the two of them were very amusing in parts! Things aren't straight forward for Hannah by any means, but she does seem to fall on her feet with certain things a bit, but I guess this is fiction at the end of the day so we can't expect it all to be completely believable! It's Hannah's relationships with the other characters that really brought the book to life for me, and I enjoyed seeing how these developed throughout the book.
It's funny to read how highly people of London who aren't from the UK. Whenever I visit, I always appreciate the fantastic atmosphere and beautiful architecture, but it seems that to Americans, and probably other countries too, London is a special place, full of the latest fashion, the best people and is simply the place to be. Gorman uses Hannah well to portray the city of London to her reader, allowing us a different view of the city to what us UK natives would usually hold, and it's quite refreshing. Hannah clearly loves the city, and this really comes across in Gorman's writing, leading me to think she herself is quite fond of London too!
This book is a nice light-hearted summer read, and one I'd definitely recommend. I really enjoyed the writing style and found it very easy to get into, I am sure Gorman will do very well if her future books are written as well as this. There aren't too many characters to play with, yet enough to keep our interest and pull good storylines out of. The main character Hannah is the perfect heroine for the book, and I loved seeing London through her eyes, it was a really fun journey and I really did care about her by the end. It's a fun story that shows the life of an American crossing the pond, and one I'm sure will do very well throughout the summer. Recommended!