Wednesday, 4 November 2009

The Good Bride Guide by Matt Dunn * * *

I picked up "The Ex-Boyfriends Handbook"by Matt Dunn a couple of years ago almost accidentally in a Padstow charity shop and really enjoyed it - chick lit from a male perspective, a light fluffy Nick Hornby. So I was rather looking forward to reading "The Good Bride Guide" when it arrived through the post box. Sadly, it didn't live up to my expectations. It's OK but nothing really special. I suppose I'd been expecting an improvement, perhaps deeper character analysis or twistier plot, as Dunn matures as a writer but this book moves him to the "read and pass on" end of the market.

Basically, Ben Grant decides, seemingly on a whim, that it's time to settle down,marry and start a family. Having had no success at choosing his own life-partner, he enlists the help of his parents who provide him with a series of unbelievably bizarre blind dates all looking for Mr Right. Does he find True Love? does he settle for second-best? should he give up his artistic dreams and go back to the day job? well, it's a chick lit novel, so there's probably not a great deal of suspense about any of these questions.

It takes a long while to get going, the plotting is rather contrived and none of the characters really come to life. I was particularly annoyed with the portrayal of his parents - these people, not much older than myself, live in some sort of time warp where the average married woman stays home and looks after children and everyone listens to Frank Sinatra.

If you're looking for a light read for holidays or the commute or while waiting for kids, it's great; read it and pass it on.

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