Alright. I’m going to start off by telling everyone that this entry is going to be solely about this chick-lit (i.e. “chick literature” – you know, books intended to be read by girls) novel that I’ve recently finished reading. (Of course, when I say “solely” I really mean apart from the parts where I ramble off about something else that’s not quite related.) So, if you’re not interested in chick-lit, you probably don’t want to read on. Don’t say I did’t warn you.
So, anyway, the book I read was titled ‘Avoiding Mr Right’, and was written by Anita Heiss, an Australian author. Does anyone else get the feeling like this is starting to turn into some sort of book report I have to write for some sort of school assignment? I don’t mean for it to be. I suppose I’m just not feeling so creatively fancy with my words at the moment, which is weird because I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately, and, theoretically, that should really inspire my writing.
Anyway… it really is an incredibly good read. It was even listed as one of the ’50 books you can’t put down’ for ‘Books Alive 2008’ (a collection of books chosen by book-lovers). Just a bit of trivia for everyone: ‘Twilight’ was also featured in that list (no surprises there, of course). I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet, but I’ll get to it eventually. ‘Obernewtyn’ by Isobelle Carmody and ‘This Charming Man’ by Marian Keyes, two other books I have also been meaning to read for some time now, also made the top 50.
I’ve always wanted to read more works by Australian authors, and I’ve always wanted to read more works by female authors, so ‘Avoiding Mr Right’ seemed perfect. I actually stumbled across it while browsing through the ‘recent returns’ section in the library, so I wasn’t purposely looking for it. It was more of a lucky find. I don’t judge books by their covers – I judge them by their spines. Whether or not I will pick up a book depends on the spine. Whether or not I will then borrow and read the book depends on the blurb.
‘Avoiding Mr Right’ is written in first-person, so it’s incredibly easy to read through, as are most chick-lit novels. It’s basically about this person who has to move from Sydney to Melbourne for a year for career-related reasons, so she leaves her supposedly perfect boyfriend behind in Sydney and takes a vow of celibacy. Sounds like a brilliant plot, doesn’t it?
To be honest, it is sort of predictable, though. But it more than makes up for that with its wit and humour. Chapter 10 is quite funny. For younger readers, it may be a bit traumatising, but otherwise it’s really quite funny. I actually read it in between taking calls at work (it was really quiet that day), so that sort of added to the hilarity of the situation. For those of you who have read it, you know what I mean, yeah? To be reading that in between talking on the phone to strangers who have no idea what you’re doing is pretty darned funny to me, anyway.
But there is a more serious side to the book, too. I found its social commentary on perceptions, stereotypes and so forth quite insightful. The main character, Peta Tully, is actually an Aborigine who is quite high up in the Department of Media, Sports, Arts, Refugees and Indigenous Affairs. I really liked how Heiss could build a story up and keep it going and still find ways to point out people’s ignorance and all that.
The book’s also quite sweet and romantic. But that’s to be expected of chick-lit, really. There’s a great line in the novel where this guy asks Peta: “If I followed you home, would you keep me?” I read that, and my heart melted. Maybe I was just caught up in the moment of it all at the time, but I still reckon it’s so sweet. It’s got to be a classic lovesick puppy line.