March 12, 2019
William Morrow Paperbacks
Blurb: From New York Times bestselling author Jenny Colgan comes a hilarious romantic comedy about a down-on-her-luck florist whose future begins to bloom when she takes on the challenge of helping to transform her nerdy roommate.
Holly is a frustrated florist whose life doesn’t seem to be coming up roses. Fleeing a roommate situation from hell, she moves in with a motley crew of friends—Josh, a sexually confused merchant banker; Kate, a high-flying legal eagle with talons to match; and Addison, a gorgeous computer geek who spends his days communicating with his online girlfriend and anyone who worships at the altar of Jean-Luc Picard. From the moment Holly catches a rare glimpse of Addison, she’s smitten. The only problem is how to get him to swivel his chair from the computer screen to her adoring gaze.
After a series of false starts—involving a new friend and mathematician, Finn—Holly coaxes Addison away from his computer screen and out into the open. While “out in the open” spells disaster for Addison, curiously, her own future begins to bloom. Holly and her friends make desperate attempts to connect with Addison, drag him away from his fiercely possessive girlfriend, Claudia, and get him to communicate with the real world.
With Jenny Colgan’s trademark wit and a cast of unforgettable characters, My Very ’90s Romance will capture your heart.
Reissued; previously called Talking to Addison
SASCHA DARLINGTON’S REVIEW
A YMMV Review!
My Very ’90s Romance by Jenny Colgan is the freaking funniest book I’ve read in a long time. I cannot tell you how many times I laughed-out-loud while reading about the antics of Holly, the flaky florist whose lips know no censor. However, before I continue and talk about the characters and the plot, I need to add a caveat before you run out to buy My Very ’90s Romance before reading to the end of the review. This book is definitely not for those who are easily offended, the political correctness police, or those striving to find the meaning of life in a book.
The best way I can think of to describe Holly is to think of Bridget Jones of the infamous diary and imagine that compared to Holly, Bridget is very well put together, stellar really with a solid life plan. Holly, however, is a trainwreck, a self-deprecating hot mess, a woman who could have been a brazenly funny ’70s comedian, an unambitious snarky teenager in a 28-year old plumpish body. She almost always says what she thinks for good or bad and yet, underneath, the reader gets glimpses of a bit of a fragile soul.
Among the other characters are high-strung, successful Kate who has the habit of unknowingly dating married men and lovable Josh who is sexually undecided, both of whom were at the same year of university as Holly and have been friends since; friends with Holly more in the case of Josh than Kate. Addison is the other flatmate in Josh’s house when Holly moves in. Because all direction point that way, Addison must look a bit like Peter Gallagher in While You Were Sleeping which makes Holly falls head-over-heels in lust with him.
Much of the action in My Very ’90s Romance is slapstick silly. This is not the kind of book to read and then try to find its merit in the English literary canon. It’s meant to give a guffaw much in the way as many broad British sit-coms. Also, this is not the sweet Jenny Colgan of the little shop and little bakery books that are yet to come. This is the Jenny Colgan who missed her calling as an irreverent stand-up.
Sometimes the jokes do go on and at least in one case, the fat jokes, a bit too far, which is one reason why My Very ’90s Romance doesn’t get five stars from me. It’s the case of beating a dead horse and feeling like, okay, we get it, let’s move on.
As for the plot you can see some of the trademark Jenny Colgan here. Events do not occur in the way they do in typical rom-coms or chick lit. The right guy may or may not be the one right in front of your face and/or the one you think you want…or maybe he is. With Colgan, you can never be quite sure until the end. And sometimes events are just a mess and out-of-control, kind of like life. And sometimes you have to accept that you’re a mess.
This is one of those books where my review is in the minority the opposite way. Heh, sometimes that happens. Evidently. So let me address some of those things. Does the book fat-shame? Not to the character’s face, but the fat jokes do get out of hand and go too far, cringingly far. Is it homophobic? No. Homosexual characters are not mocked, treated badly or judged. (Interestingly, while reviewers jumped on the fat-shaming and homophobic bandwagon, no one discussed the mocking of the height-challenged individual. Do the extremely short not get reviewer support?) Is Holly an awful character, judgy, mean, a mess? She’s a mess without a censor but I don’t think she’s mean nor really judgy. Sometimes she reacts out of jealousy or lack of self-esteem, which is not the same thing as mean or judgy. One or two reactions does not a character make. *My opinion* is that Holly is not as flat as some readers portray her in their reviews.
So who should read this? If you like irreverent humor, slapstick, silliness, wackiness and have no affiliation with the politically correct police nor are easily offended and like women’s fiction, and, lastly, are in need of a huge laugh–go for it! However, if you are the opposite of all that give the book a pass, seriously.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
rating: I’m currently undecided between 4 and 4½.