There is something very special about this book. It’s not typical women’s fiction, even though the cover may suggest so to some. I like to think the cobbled path on the cover is representative of how dynamic, sharp, and scrumptiously witty this book is—each stone a symbol of how diverse and unique the characters and story elements are, and how seamlessly they entwine and relate to each other, jigsaw perfect.
If you are not a fan of multi-point-of-view books, then this might be a tad tough to swallow. There are so many that I cannot tell you exactly how many there are off the top of my head without referring to the book.
Multi-POV or not, this is a damn addicting read. Even in the beginning, when coming to grips with who is who, the voices are so unique that being able to put a name to a face, so to speak, is completely irrelevant. You do not need to know exactly who is who to be thoroughly entertained, swept up into their world and thrown an array of compelling life issues to contemplate—not to mention the distinct dry “Cooper” wit, which is guaranteed to make you chuckle out loud (and if you’re a writer, utter, “I wish I’d written that.”)
Unfortunately, this is one of those books where the plot summary just does not do the story justice. Basically, it begins with a bunch of random people in London attending an organized speed dating night at a bar called the Jacaranda. As the story progresses, we learn more about each of them. Sometimes through their own separate lives, and sometimes on follow-up dates with their “matches”.
On the surface, the story may be about “finding happiness when you’re trying to hide a whole carousel of baggage,” but it’s oh so much more than that. To me it’s about surviving the monotony of the everyday. It’s about looking beyond potential happiness for the strength to wake up every morning even when you don’t feel you have much to wake up for, and doing so with vigour. It’s about living the moment, realizing that whatever life throws your way, if it ended today, you’d at least be able to say, “I don’t regret it.” Ultimately, it’s about finding the strength to love yourself, because as Dan says (my favourite character in the book) “Fuck it, everyone [is] the same under the skin.”
I highly recommend this book to those who love both women’s fiction and literary fiction, as it really is a mix of the two. Think of it as character-driven fiction with just enough drive to keep you up during the night. The plot is thin, but the writing is rich and potent. Spend a lazy Sunday with this book. It’s bound to please those in search of plain entertainment, and those in search of something with a little more meat to chew on.
It’s not often you come across a book so versatile. That takes talent.