Although I have not read anything by Giovanna Fletcher before (this is her third novel) I was with her from her biographical note, before the book starts, informing us that she “spent most of her childhood talking to herself or reading books.” I’ve already identified with her before I’ve read the first page.
I know I’m writing this from a male point of view and Giovanna’s target market is likely to be a) of different sex b) younger than me, but I think this book is a huge success and I cannot remember when I have enjoyed a “chick-lit” novel more. (For me it slips ahead of Kathleen Tessaro’s “Elegance” and Allie Spencer’s “Summer Nights”, both books I use as mental yardsticks when assessing this type of fiction.
Here are the reasons I like this book so much:
- It’s written with such a deft touch. It has good pace throughout and is consistently involving.
- The main character is totally believable and highly likeable. Sarah is a PA in a television production company. She is frustrated at work, has a close group of outside work friends and is unable to move on from a failed relationship because her ex (and his new partner) are in the same friendship group and when it all fell apart they were unable to divide these friends up. This is a plausible predicament and it is presented realistically. The friends are likeable and supportive.
- The centre of this group’s social life is a pub quiz.
- Sarah dreams. Celebrities infiltrate her dreams (as they do mine). I started to list the celebrities I dreamt about but for some reason there were disturbingly regular appearances of Sharon Osbourne so I stopped. Amongst Sarah’s dreams there’s Bruno Tonioli in a pair of tiny Speedos who morphs into a giant lizard! Giovannas’ real-life husband Tom from McBusted even makes a cheeky appearance….I like that! Also in Sarah’s dreams there’s the recurring figure of someone she knew fleetingly years ago who comes to dominate her nightime reveries.
- This leading male character, Brett Last, is likeable and plausible, eats jam his nan has made for him and would be the perfect partner for Sarah.
- The book is funny and the humour is warm. I have to really like someone to find them funny (this rules out quite a number of professional comedians for me). I like Giovanna and her creations, therefore I find this book funny.
- It feels modern and accessible, it doesn’t stray too far from the pre-requisites of this type of fiction but it’s all done in a way which feels refreshing.
I’m interested in finding out if Giovanna has really come into form with this third confident, assured novel or if the first two, “Billy and Me” and “You’re The One That I Want” are just as good. Obviously, I’ll need to read them to find out. If they are then this author is certainly amongst the best writing this type of fiction. For sheer enjoyment I will give this book five stars.
Dream A Little Dream is published by Penguin books in the UK. Many thanks to Netgalley and Penguin for providing a copy for me to review.