Nina Dean has arrived at her early thirties as a successful food writer with loving friends and family, plus a new home and neighbourhood. When she meets Max, a beguiling romantic hero who tells her on date one that he's going to marry her, it feels like all is going to plan.
A new relationship couldn't have come at a better time - her thirties have not been the liberating, uncomplicated experience she was sold. Everywhere she turns, she is reminded of time passing and opportunities dwindling. Friendships are fading, ex-boyfriends are moving on and, worse, everyone's moving to the suburbs. There's no solace to be found in her family, with a mum who's caught in a baffling mid-life makeover and a beloved dad who is vanishing in slow-motion into dementia.
This is Alderton’s first fiction novel and I wasn’t really sure what to expect as I haven’t read any of her work before, which I will definitely change after reading this as I thoroughly enjoyed it!
This is a very enjoyable and easy read. It is refreshingly honest and addresses so many topics and issues that we experience every day; lost love, loneliness, new love, friendship, family and more.
The vibes I got from the book are a mix of Queenie and The Flatshare. Some hilarious laugh out loud moments but also some very real and emotional moments that connect with the reader. Nina is going through a trying time in her life with a sick father, tense friendships and the always frightening London dating scene - many of these are things the we can relate with on a personal level.
I really loved some of the friendships that are portrayed in the book and you could really picture these people in real life. Nina and Lola's friendship is fantastic and I love how Alderton makes the reader want to join these two girls for drinks. They're unapologetically honest with each other and I think nowadays many of us find it hard to find true friendships like that if living abroad or far from friends.
One thing I found really interesting in the book was how Nina labelled and described different friendships; those we are friends with because we always have been, those we are friends but only in group settings, those we may know the least amount of time but have so much in common with due to meeting later in life when are interests are more established and many more. We all have friends who fall under so many of these categories and it really makes you think about the different roles these people play in your life.
I found Nina's friendship with Katherine really interesting; staying friends because they've known each other their whole lives but not really investing time or effort into keeping it an authentic friendship. Sometimes we need to just accept that this is the case and decide on the best way to work on that and how to fully appreciate each other again.
Then of course there is Nina's relationship with her father. This really got me in a lot of ways because I am really close with my dad and my granddad had dementia. This journey Nina embarks on is really raw and beautifully portrayed.
You may have noticed how I haven't addressed Max...this is mainly because I still don't know how I felt about this part of the book and I also don't want to spoil it. I guess as well, I haven't been single for over 3 years so I probably didn't relate to it as much as some other readers would.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and if you’re looking for an easy read, then I would highly recommend this.
IN 3 WORDS/PHRASES:
'I wished, more than anything, that I could buy a Durex for her heart.'
Lola, what a hilarious character. My heart really bled for her at times, but I just loved her friendship with Nina and would love to meet her in person!