A few years ago (ok, ok, make that a decade !), when I was a young, free and single 20-something, I had a foolproof method for choosing reading material that would appeal to me. I'd glance at the reviewers' quotes on the back of the book and if they all came from girlie magazines (as in magazines for girlies, not top shelf publications !!), I'd know they would be right up my street. Well, this book has all the right credentials for that era - Company, Heat, Closer, Cosmopolitan, Elle .... they're all there and they all loved it ! So if you fall into that sector of readers, looking for a lightweight read with a bit of fun and romance, you'll love it. In a nutshell, it's classic chicklit.
The story follows Daisy Rogers, a feisty, sassy but vulnerable young woman, recovering from a major heartbreak. Right from page one, where we see her at a petrol station, yelling a string of multi-lingual profanities at a guy who almost knocked her off her scooter, I really liked her - she's one ballsy girl who knows how to stand up for herself ! Daisy's job as a front-of-house girl - or "bun tart", as the insiders call them - on the Formula 1 scene takes her all over the world to glamorous locations, giving her - and us - an inside view of the world of F1 racers and their lifestyle. As would be expected, you'll find hearts and flowers (quite literally - there are little hearts and flowers drawn on each chapter-opening page !!), but also betrayal and heartache, friendship and complicated family relationships, all interspersed with a permanent whiff of engine-oil ! It's all fairly predictable stuff - I could see the ending coming right from the opening pages - but even for me, there was one pivotal central scene that came as a total shock - you'll have to read the book to find out what it is though !
My one criticism is that the descriptions of the people and places are a bit too flimsy. Each new location resembles the previous one, as they're limited to a description of a strip of touristy bars on a boozy night out, and the characters, even the main ones, could have done with being a bit more fleshed out. This is Paige Toon's third book and apparently picks up pretty much where the last one, 'Johnny Be Good' left off (Johnny, Daisy's ex, even makes a cameo appearance in this novel) so maybe you'd have a more rounded view of the characters if you'd read that one before.
It's great chick-lit. It won't be winning any Nobel prizes for literature but if you stick it in your suitcase for a great holiday read lazing around the poolside, you certainly won't be disappointed.
Simon & Schuster UK, July 2009
Trade Paperback, 464 pages
Trade Paperback, 464 pages
star rating : 4/5