"Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather, and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know." - John Keats

"You're not allowed to say anything about books because they're books and books are, you know, God." - Nick Hornby

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Review #1: From Notting Hill with Love...Actually, by Ali McNamara

First review! Here's hoping I make it past the second!

I really wanted to like this book. I tried really, really, really hard. But...I couldn't.

Scarlett (yes, as in Rhett and) is obsessed with movies. She lives in Stratford, owns a company that repairs popcorn machines with her father, is engaged to what is possibly the most boring man alive, and through a convoluted series of events, winds up house-sitting for friends of a friend in Notting Hill for a month. Of course, she stops at the Travel Bookshop (of Notting Hill fame), quite literally bumps in to a gorgeous yet crusty man, and befriends the owner of the boutique next door, who just happens to know the gorgeous yet crusty man.

The book kind of wanders, much like Scarlett's mind. She's determined to show her father and fiance that life really does imitate the movies, and in the process, she irritates the ever living crap out of the reader. Luckily, Scarlett leans more towards Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, and leaves the "life is like a box of chocolates" nonsense out of her chapters, or else I would have had to throw the book across the room.

There's a trip to Glasgow, a wedding at Sleeping Beauty's palace at Disneyland Paris (where they actually close the park), a quest to find Scarlett's long-lost mother, cameos by Kate Winslet, Johnny Depp, and Hugh Grant, and enough movie references to fill a jumbo popcorn bucket. Scarlett tries too hard throughout the entire book to make real life match up with her movie dreams, and I feel like that's what this book did, too: it tried too hard.

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