How Not to Fall in Love, Actually by Catherine Bennetto
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publishing Date: 26th January 2017
Source: Received from the publisher, thank you!
Number of pages: 512
Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction
Emma has a job in television which is distinctly less glamourous and exciting than it sounds. She’s managed to claw her way up the ranks from Tea-Maker and Rubbish-Collector to 2nd Assistant Director (heavy on the ‘assistant’. Even heavier on the ‘2nd’).
So when she finds she’s accidentally very pregnant and at the same time accidentally very sacked (well, less accidentally: she did tell her boss to stick his job up his bum), she knows things are going to have to change.
Luckily she’s also accidentally the heir to a lovely cottage in Wimbledon, with a crazy Rottweiler-owning octogenarian as a neighbour and a rather sexy boy as an accidental tenant. But this baby is coming whether she likes it or not, and she needs to become the sort of person who can look after herself let alone another human being – and quickly.
Emma George has a job that she’s not that great at. She has a boyfriend that has his head in the clouds. She doesn’t have much hope for the future. Rightly so: because soon after we get to know her she no longer has a job, finds herself boyfriendless and pregnant. Moreover, also homeless and penniless. But then things start to look a bit better – she inherits a cottage from her grandmother so at least has a place to live. She starts to work as a chaperone to her 4 – year – old nephew on a horror film set. And Joe, a drunken stranger turns up on her new doorstep one night and somehow stays. Will Emma start to appreciate that, in fact, she’s more lucky than she thought, with a loving family around the corner or willing to put everything behind and travel for her around the world? With a great bunch of friends and people simply there to help and support her?
“How Not to Fall in Love, Actually” is a hilarious and funny book, yes, a bit bonkers, a bit crazy but this is just what I needed right now. It’s a feel – good book that is highly entertaining and refreshing.
Despite Emma being a bit of a woe – is – me character, I liked her. I liked that, even though she went through some tough times, even if sometimes at her own request, she managed to pull through. And I think she started to learn from her own mistakes, and it was lovely to see her growing into a different person, a bit more mature but still chaotic and funny. She was a very accident – prone character, just my favourite kind, and well, anything that could go wrong for her, did go wrong for her and it was so entertaining to read and see how she deals with all those mishaps.
The bunch of the supporting characters was absolutely brilliant. Emma’s mother was absolutely hilarious, her sister Alex was always there to support Emma and I loved Joe, just like that, he can knock on my doors anytime he wants, even if he’s drunk, no problems there, I’ll keep him.
There were many, many subplots running through this book and each one more ridiculous than the previous one, and the film – set was probably one of the most hilarious, but they were all so brilliantly written and I loved spending my time with the characters and their mishaps.
I have really and truly enjoyed this book, it gave me laughs, but the more I think about it, the more things I find that actually shouldn’t have find themselves in this novel – I think. The book started brilliantly, and it was so hilariously funny, really. Nevertheless, it was a bit too long in my opinion, and there were moments that felt like a chewing gum, dragging a bit. It had it ups and downs, there were things I didn’t agree with, some of the character’s decisions that I didn’t approve and sometimes it felt too patronizing and “ist” (sexist, fattist) and it started to feel ugly when the author started to be very judgemental about one of the characters. Emma has a young and beautiful friend who spends each night with a different man, and it’s OK. But when the overweight Martha does the same, she’s described in very mean and hateful terms, her body is ridiculed, and I must admit, this bitter hate in her words shocked me. They weren’t funny anymore, they were simply ugly and unnecessary, as no one is deserving of shaming, and the book really didn’t need it. Nevertheless, altogether it was finally a read that delivered what it promises on the cover: a laugh – out – loud romantic comedy.
It was for sure not your usual romance, oh no, and this must be why I enjoyed this book so much. It was a pure entertainment, with so many hilarious and amusing scenes and one – liners. Don’t go too over – thinking into this story, simply find a comedy in it and enjoy it as much as I did. There were moments that it was too far – fetched and some scenes navigating towards the extreme end of the scale but still the characters felt authentic and honest and even relatable. It is a story about growing up into believing in yourself and your feelings and I am so, so happy that I finally found time to read it! Really. Recommended!