Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The One You Really Want, by Jill Mansell

Posted by lea at 1:33 PM
I read this book on the recommendation of a friend, who said Jill Mansell is one of the better writers in the chicklit genre. I would reluctantly agree, which doesn't say that much because I think the genre is littered with writing that mostly belongs at the bottom of a birdcage, in my humble opinion :)

Mansell falls into the trap of most other authors of her genre, which is the portrayal of too-perfect characters. Even the flawed characters, like rock star Rennie in this book, is perfect in his flaws. This makes them unrelatable and one-dimensional. There are endless unrealistic coincidences peppered throughout the book (Nancy's mother just happens to bump into Zac who just happens to hire both her and her daughter and just happens to be the former gay lover of their stiff-upper-lipped next door neighbour who's been trying to kick them out of the street). Like many other chicklits, The One You Really Want is a grown woman's fairy tale where everyone ends up with just the right person and things work out perfectly in the end. There's no real depth to the story - even the moment when Zac's father is confronted with his son's homosexuality, the scene is shallow, quick and unrealistic: 'I still love you son.' Hug. Close curtain.

Perhaps that's what makes these books so successful (after all, chicklit is a huge market now) - women want escapism in their reading matter. And in those cases, this book may satisfy. Personally though, I found it a bit too glib and contrived. If it was funnier, even with all the same drama, it would've been better (along the lines of Marian Keyes). But it's not.

Rating: 5.5/10
Okay read but not great. Some clunky moments and a bit too contrived.


Anonymous said...


Best wishes anyway!
Jill Mansell

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