All She Wants – Jonathan Harvey (2012)- A Chick-lit from a male point of view review

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This for me promised much. After all, here is a man whose plays I have really enjoyed, the film adaptation of one, “Beautiful Thing” is one of my favourite films and likely to appear on my 100 Essential Films list and who also is responsible for some of the most sparkling scripts on “Coronation Street”. (Okay, I might not have been such a huge fan of his 1999-2001 sitcom “Gimme Gimme Gimme” but you can’t have everything!) He has chosen to place his first novel firmly in the chick-lit genre, unusual for male writers but here goes with a male point of view review for a chick-lit novel written by a male. I was soon feeling a little disappointed that he has chosen, with his debut, to go along what feels like very standard comic chick-lit lines. Main character Jodie is a soap opera star and the beginning of the book feels like we are in the territory of Tony Warren novels. (Warren is the originator of “Coronation Street” and wrote four novels in the 1990’s, all of which I have read and will post reviews in the future). A Tony Warren feel would be no bad thing and would be quite fitting but it soon takes a more predictable Bridget Jones chick-lit turn with a foolish heroine getting in all sorts of scrapes. It’s amusing rather than laugh out loud funny (and this, with Harvey’s pedigree for comedy was the biggest surprise. His “Coronation Street” scripts, for example, are full of laugh-out-loud moments). I had hoped for more. Jodie plays a nun in “Acacia Avenue”, and although the soap (together with its resulting press attention, Soap Awards etc) play a part we are more concerned with her disastrous love life. Prat-falls a plenty. It is enjoyable but its adherence to genre lines makes it seem some distance away from the originality and freshness of “Beautiful Thing.”

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