Thursday 6 December 2012

Book review : The First Last Kiss - Ali Harris

I know they say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover but one glance at The First Last Kiss was all that I needed to forge a rather hasty opinion of what I'd find inside. It looks like classic chick lit - a couple sharing a romantic kiss on a bridge, the fairy lights, the word "kiss" in the title and the strapline "How do you hold onto a love that is slowly slipping away from you?". Time for the usual feel-good formula of girl meets boy and either gets past all the obstacles in their way to find their happy ending or else discovers that he wasn't Mr Right after all and ends up with an equally happy ending with someone better. 

The story does begin like most other chick lit. A seemingly mismatched couple - angst-ridden social outcast Molly and local heart throb and absolute Essex boy Ryan - get together and hit it off against all odds. The author ditches chronological sequencing in favour of a series of flashbacks and fast forwards, which makes it sometimes hard to follow the thread of their tumultuous relationship, but you get the general idea - they grow up, grow apart, grow back together again and end up totally loved up.

But then the rot begins to set in. Little snippets of information start to filter through the seemingly randomly sequenced episodes suggesting that all is not well in Molly-and-Ryan-land. She feels restricted and wants to spread her wings, he is happy staying close to home (his family's home) in Leigh on Sea, mentions of not being together any more start to seep in ...

It ends up not being the light-hearted, feel-good chick lit escapism that I was expecting and becoming a much darker, poignant tear-jerker. On that level, it really does work but if you're buying this expecting an uplifting, frothy, frivolous tale of romance and fun, you may feel slightly put out.

The latter part of the book is very poignant and incredibly sad. Sometimes, life IS totally unfair and you can't beat the odds, however hard you try. Molly discovers that she is not alone in being alone and I'm sure this will reach out and touch anyone going through the same trauma. She does ultimately get her happy ending but it's not quite the one she - or the readers - want. Sometimes life gets in the way of the perfect literary happy ending though, so this adds realism to the novel.

It's a really well-written book that can't fail to move you, but be warned that it's not chirpy, cheerful, classic chick lit that you'll want to read as a lift to escape the stresses of real life and unwind in the evening.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £6.99

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (17 Jan 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0857202936
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857202932

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Book review : A Winter Flame - Milly Johnson

1 comment:

  1. This looks good, perhaps Santa might bring me it if I am good! x


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