24 August 2009

Book Review: Holly's Inbox by Holly Denham

Holly Denham works as a receptionist at a big bank in London, and is slowly getting used to her job, alongside her colleagues, keeping in touch with her ever eccentric family and her best friends Jason and Aisha.

The "story" unfolds through the emails sent between Holly, her friends and family and basically gives the ups and downs of Holly's life, from getting a new boyfriend, learning her job and trying to keep track of her Granny who is living it up at her OAP home.

The story does unfold quite slowly throughout the book but does work up to a nice and surprising climax at the end.

Holly's Inbox is based on the emails of a receptionist working in London called Holly Denham. It all started with an online website, www.hollysinbox.com, which was apparently revealing Holly's emails to the web in real time. This was a real craze online, somehow I missed it so I was quite eager to read the books and find out what it was about. I've since done a bit of digging and found out it is indeed fiction, and was just chick-lit revealed as emails in real time. It's a strange idea to me, but there you go.

As I mentioned, although it has been marketed as if Holly is a real person, but she is indeed a fictional character. I really warmed to her through reading her emails, she's very funny and the writing style is very natural and easy going. As the emails are written as they were "sent", you get to form your own opinions about Holly and the other characters in the book, although the way Holly is written you are definitely supposed to like her and want to read on to find out more about her! Because it is meant to be written by a normal woman, you get a really good glimpse into the life of a modern woman, happy and sad!

Other characters in the book include my favourite Jason, who is Holly's gay best friend and absolutely hilarious. The conversations between Holly and Jason were light relief throughout and were really a joy to read. Aisha was another of Holly's friends and although she was nice enough, she got on my nerves a lot and I found myself wanting to skip her emails. The last main character is Holly's fellow receptionist, Patricia, or Trish as she is on her emails. The banter between the two women was very realistic but so enjoyable to read and I found myself really liking Trish as her and Holly grew closer.

At over 700 pages long, this book does look like an enormous chunk of reading material but really, it isn't. The book, as mentioned, is set out in email form with a To and From, Subject line then the body of the email which is rarely over a few lines long. As the emails are short, they don't cover anywhere near a whole, even half probably, so you can easily sit and read a load of pages at once because of the spread-out layout the book. This allows you to dip in and out of the story quite easily, and was fairly easy to pick up too as the story was easy to follow and slow to develop. I found myself getting really involved in the book and easily reading 100+ pages in one sitting, so it didn't take me long to get through the whole book.

It is an easy read, written in a bit of an unusual way but I think that adds to the charm of it to be honest. The characters were all great, especially Holly, Jason and Trish and you can feel yourself getting more involved in the story as it developed, and I was desperate to find out how it was all going to end for Holly and co. It is funny, and a very light-hearted read so I would definitely recommend it as a holiday read, perfect for chilling out and taking your mind off the day, immerse yourself in someone else's life for a while!

Rating: 4/5


  1. I read this a few months ago and I quite enjoyed it. I'd love to read more by this author.

  2. hilarious book!!
    I love books which are just emails and so on!

  3. Just finished this book and am looking for Denham's second book.