17 November 2010

Book Review: It's Got To Be Perfect by Claire Allan

Annie Delaney just wants to be happy. She wants a big white wedding, a family and a happily ever after, but she's suer that isn't what she is going to get with her current boyfriend Pearse. He seems more interested in the running of his restaurant than he is paying Annie any attention, and she's had enough. When she wakes up one morning with another man in her bed, she thinks fate is trying to tell her something and decides that maybe what her and Pearse have just isn't perfect after all. Annie's best friend Ffion is also heading down the aisle with her Mr Right, making Annie realise what she wants, but when things start to unravel, can Annie hold it together for Ffion and find her own perfect ending too?

This is Claire Allan's fourth novel with Irish publishers Poolbeg, and considering how much I have enjoyed 2 of her previous books I have read, I had high hopes for really enjoying this one as well! I find that Claire's books are always very realistic, with characters that you can imagine knowing in real life and I am always hooked by her stories too. I do love a book that you can imagine actually taking place, and Claire's books always deliver on that for me. It's Got To Be Perfect has a gorgeous red and white themed cover, it's quite under-stated and I feel that works well for the book - it is one that would attract me to pick it up so it was  a good start for me!

To be honest, I wasn't completely taken by the beginning of the book which I felt was a real shame. It seemed to focus for the first chapters on sex, Annie sleeping with both Pearse and this other strange man she wakes up with at the very beginning, and the sole focus seems to be sex. I just felt that the book didn't open with enough of a bang to get me really interested, and I was worried that the sex theme would just continue throughout the book. However, it soon moves on to the finer points of Annie's relationships and this is where the book takes off for me. I started to like Annie much more away from the relationships - her friendship with Ffion and their fake fag breaks were great, and it was nice to read a well written female friendship.

Annie's love life is the prominent theme through the book but there are other important sub-plots as well. Ffion's trouble with her fiancé plays a really big part of the book because of her and Annie's closeness, and I think Allan has chosen a very modern theme. Ffion and her fiancé are having trouble because the mother of his child is making trouble in their relationship, and I am sure this is something that happens more and more in this day and age. I enjoyed the twists and turns this tale took, and it really made the book feel really modern and realistic. Annie's relationship with her sister Darcey is also a prominent story in the book, and I really loved reading about the Delaney sisters, they are fun but there is a more serious side that really works in the book.

The setting is mainly Derry but it does move over to Dublin for a while too, and I liked how the pace of the book moves at a good pace to  keep the action moving and fresh, yet there is plenty of narrative to get absorbed into. We read the book from Annie's perspective and therefore the reader is taken into her world, and everything we see is from Annie's perception. However, because she is meant to be a sympathetic character, I felt like I really got to know her and by the end I really cared about and liked Annie. She definitely changed from the beginning of the book, and the story is her journey of facing up to finding the perfect life, if it really does exist. Allan describes her homeland of Ireland perfectly in the book, from the sea walks that Annie goes on to the hectic city life of Darcey, and it was refreshing to read both sides of a country in the same book!

Overall, I think is another really enjoyable read from Claire Allan, and certainly cements her as one of Ireland's finest chick lit authors. Her realistic and believable books reflect modern issues in the world and her writing makes them really enjoyable. You can sucked into the world of Annie in this book, and despite disliking the beginning somewhat, I soon found the book took a slightly different turn and I really began to enjoy what I was reading. The characters are likeable, there is plenty of action throughout to keep you hooked, and overall it is just a really enjoyable read. If you have read any of Allan's previous work, you are sure to enjoy this, and you certainly will too if you are new to her work. A really good read that I would certainly recommend.

Rating: 4/5

No comments:

Post a Comment