"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

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Review #24: Mr. Maybe, by Jane Green

I think the first Jane Green book I read was Family Pictures, and it was fantastic, so I had pretty high hopes for Mr. Maybe, but unfortunately, it fell flat for me.

Libby is a twenty-something single woman living in London. She works in PR, handling mainly local B-list celebrities, including the local morning news personality Amanda. She has a best friend, Jules, who is married to an awesome guy named Jamie, and a relatively good circle of friends. But the one thing she doesn't have is a guy. At a party, she meets Nick, a gorgeous unemployed novelist. He's wrong for her in every way, but she decides to have a fling with him. No feelings, just sex. A friends with benefits deal, if you will. And Nick is on board with this, saying that he's not ready for a relationship right now. Except, of course, that's not what happens, and Nick and Libby begin to feel things for each other, and because of some event that I can't remember (which should tell you how invested I was in their story), they decide to break up.

So Libby meets Ed McMann (yes, that's his name, and no, there's never a joke about it, and I really, really wanted there to be) at a club the night she breaks up with Nick. Unbeknownst to her, Ed is Britain's most eligible bachelor, a successful, extremely wealthy businessman. She's uninterested, but accepts a date with him because she thinks it's time to settle down with a "grown up". Ed is dull. And needy. And a wimp. And doesn't appear to like Libby's personality. And for a few horrifying moments, I thought that he was going to be a thirty-nine-year-old virgin, but it turns out that he's just bad at sex. Really, really bad at it. But Libby toughs it out, changing herself in to the woman she thinks Ed wants her to be. It's hard to turn down fancy dinners and giant bouquets of flowers and thousand dollar Gucci bags. 

There was the making of a good story here. We've all had that relationship that we knew we should keep casual but that felt like it wasn't, we've all experienced the Ed phenomenon (although my Eds never had that kind of money), and we've all stuck it out for far longer than we should have because we thought we were doing what we were supposed to do. But it just didn't do it for me. Maybe Nick was too perfect, maybe Libby was too selfish, maybe Ed was too dull. 

I'll give Green one more shot - there was a snippet of a new book in the back called Saving Grace that immediately caught my interest - but I just can't recommend this one.

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