6 February 2012
Book Review: All The Single Ladies by Jane Costello
I've read a few of Jane Costello's books in the past and have really enjoyed them - they're funny, like laugh-out-loud funny and have good plots as well. My little bugbear is the need to have a new chapter every 2 or 3 pages, something I've never liked but somehow I manage to ignore this and plough on anyway, because straight away I really liked this book. I have to say that the quote on the front of my proof copy, calling Jane Costello "the new Sophie Kinsella" is a little too ambitious for my liking and not entirely accurate since I find them similar but not actually all that alike as authors to be honest! Also, I defy you not to have Beyonce's song banging around in your head once you see the title of this book, a good job I quite like the song really! Let's see if Jane Costello's new title lives up to the hype and whether it's a good read or not!
Samantha Brooks is deeply in love with her boyfriend Jamie, so when he announces he is leaving her to go and live in South America, she's somewhat shocked and desperate to change his mind - and she's got three measly months in which to do so. She recruits the help of her best friends Ellie and Jen, the sometimes helpful advice from Jamie's sister, and a good deal of changing herself too. However, when a new man, Ben, makes an entrance, Samantha starts to wonder whether what she thinks she wants is what she really wants at all. I was a little worried that this was going to be too much along the same vein as other books I've read on this topic recently (Stella Newman's 'Pear Shaped' and Sarra Manning's 'Nine Uses For An Ex-Boyfriend) and while it had similar overtones, Costello delivered it in a very different way and made it stand out from the crowd somewhat.
Samantha was a really good character, and I liked reading her story throughout the book. It's told in the first person so we really feel like we get to know her really well, and as such I found myself rooting for her, and for her not to take Jamie back because it would all end in tears! It's another case of girl doesn't want to let go of her first boyfriend, even though he's a bit of a twit and everyone but her can see he isn't a good apple. I enjoyed the funny scenarios Samantha found herself in, but did feel a bit sorry for the man she was stringing along to make Jamie jealous, she was a bit blind with him as well I fear! Jamie on the other hand wasn't a nice man at all, giving up the woman he loved so much just to go travelling again?! Why can't these men commit?! I didn't like him at all, despite the gushing that Samantha did about him, and I'm glad he wasn't too prominent throughout the book, as I far preferred the lovely Ben!
The book was set in Liverpool, somewhere I've never been myself but Costello writes about it well and brings it to life for the reader. Samantha's job does come up quite a bit but it didn't capture my attention that much I have to say, and I was far more interested in Samantha's attempts to make Jamie jealous! I really enjoyed the fact that Costello covers a more serious issue in this book regarding one of Samantha's best friends. I don't want to spoil it by revealing the topic as I liked how it was gradually revealed, but I feel Costello covered this very realistically and while it wasn't a nice storyline to read, it was well done and I think the characters involved all handled it well and it felt realistic to read. It's nice to see issues like this coming out in chick lit too as they are far more frequently being seen in today's world.
This book is a really great read, and contains Costello's usual fantastic laugh-out-loud humour, and good characters that will have you hooked as well. While at times I felt it was a story that has been done before, and quite recently too, I enjoyed Costello's spin on it, and while it was a fairly long novel, it did pass by quickly and I was hoping for an ending that would make me happy and round off the book in a good way. As well as the funnier moments, there are more serious ones to balance these out and it certainly makes for a really good read. If you've loved Costello's previous novels then you are going to really like this one, and if you haven't yet picked up one of her books, this would be a good place to start! I'm not sure Jane Costello is the next Sophie Kinsella, but she's certainly marking out a niche for herself as a great comedy writer whose books I look forward to reading each year!
You can buy All The Single Ladies in both hardback and as an eBook now.