4 November 2013
Book Review: Take A Look At Me Now by Miranda Dickinson
When Nell’s on-off boyfriend Aidan calls her into his office, losing her job is the last thing she expects.
Heartbroken and unemployed to boot, she makes a radical decision to blow her redundancy cheque and escape to the untested waters of San Francisco.
But is the glamour of the city too good to be true? And can Nell leave her past behind?"
You can buy Take A Look At Me Now as a paperback or an eBook now.
I have read the past few releases by author Miranda Dickinson, and always look forward to her new stories. For this book, she's been given a new cover look, something which moves away from her other books in a way, but I feel Miranda has still written the book in her heart-warming and unique style. Since reading it, I have read that Miranda has said it's based partly on her own experiences of losing her job, and what happened afterwards, and now I've read it, it's definitely an uplifting story for anyone finding themselves in those awful circumstances. Here's why I think Take A Look At Me Now is a must-read.
Nell is horrified and shocked when she is made redundant out of the blue. She isn't expecting it, and leaves her office and her friends behind feeling totally shell-shocked. She makes her way back to her parents house, and there she makes a momentous decision... she decides to spend her not-so-large redundancy cheque and fly to San Francisco for a few months. She joins her cousin Lizzie and moves into her small apartment, with the now San-Fran native helping her explore her home for the next few months. While there, she meets native Max Rossi, an artist who she immediately feels an attraction to. Is it going to be just the city of San Francisco that Nell falls in love with, or is there something else that will be making Nell want to stay?
The book begins with Nell being made redundant, and given that is told to us in the blurb of the book, it isn't a spoiler! What happens for the rest of the book is all due to this moment in Nell's life though, one defining moment that forces her to make a decision that previously she never would have considered. San Francisco isn't somewhere that I have been yet, although it is definitely somewhere I want to visit before I die (wow, that's cheerful!) and once you've read the book, you can see why Nell wanted to go so badly. What I really loved about the writing in this book is how you can tell that Dickinson has really done her research with this book - everything about the place comes to life in your mind due to her brilliant descriptive writing, everything from the buildings, to the famous sites such as the Golden Gate bridge are so brilliantly written. Miranda Dickinson went on a holiday to San Francisco, and all this really does come across in her writing, it is clear she's fallen in love with the city too.
The cast of characters in the book are fantastic. Nell is very likeable, and you can feel sorry for her situation straight away. The demise of her relationship with her ex-boss and ex-boyfriend Aiden also adds to Nell's woes, and in a way, you can't blame her for fleeing. I liked how Dickinson writes in Nell's cousin Lizzie, who is a great addition to the story. I loved her, she has a great attitude and work ethic, and seems like such a genuinely warm and kind person, her and Nell really are perfect female leads for the book, there is nothing dislikeable about them at all. I loved reading about them working together, exploring and just hanging out in Lizzie's small apartment. The inclusion of the residents around San Francisco and in Lizzie's neighbourhood were perfect, there were some real characters in there and made it fun to read, you never knew who you were going to meet next.
The book is a great journey of self-discovery, and shows what amazing things can happen out of something that seems so awful at first. Nell's passion for cooking and diners really comes through, especially in the scenes in the brilliant Annie's Diner... I wish I had somewhere like that to go on a regular basis, it sounds amazing! I loved the vivid descriptions of San Francisco from Nell's eyes, she's really in awe of the place and it comes across so well in her writing. Dickinson has a way of drawing you into a story, making you care about its characters and them all getting the happy ending that they deserve. I loved the surprises along the way too, it certainly kept me interested and I didn't want to stop reading, even when my eyes were begging me for sleep! I really enjoyed Take A Look At Me Now, it's another heart-warming and life-affirming story from a fantastic author. Read it!