I’m starting off my 2016 reading by picking some books that I might not usually go for. Right at the top of the list was I Take You by Eliza Kennedy for no other reason than that it was one of the most recent ones to pass by my desk.
This is typical chick-lit. Or at least I thought it was.
I have read chick-lit before, but not really anything like this.
At first I thought that main character Lily Wilder was a cross between Samantha Jones (off of Sex and the City) and Ally McBeal (off of, well… Ally McBeal). But after a while I realised, this was a character conceived in the post-Lena Dunham world – although it is entirely possible this view point is coloured by the fact I’ve just started watching Girls for the first time.
Lily is a lawyer, good at her job, but neurotic about it (hello Calista Flockhart), but where she is confident and open in her life is in her sex life, a woman with a voracious sexual appetite (stand up, Kim Catrall).
Where Dunham comes into it though, is the author isn’t afraid to go there. The climatic scene of the whole plot is literally that, with the conversation taking place between blowjobs in the hotel bedroom and doing it doggy-style in the bathroom.
Let’s pause the sex for a moment and take a look at the plot.
Lily is getting married to Will. Will is perfect for her, except they’re rushing into marriage and something doesn’t feel quite right. Throw in that she’s sleeping with every man she encounters, single handedly defending an oil company from a massive compensation claim, and dealing with her father sleeping with all three of his ex-wives and Lily is having quite an eventful week.
It’s hard to say whether I liked this book or not. It made me laugh out loud on several occasions, and although the plot was a little ridiculous in places, it was definitely written with tongue planted firmly in cheek.
The sex WAS sexy (for those of you that are into that sort of thing) but did feel out of places (sometimes not so much tongue-in-cheek as… well, you know where I’m going with that one.
The plot seemed to lurch from one disaster to another, and there seemed to hang on a lot of coincidences. A huge storm and a treacherous colleague meant that Lily ended up working on her own with her gran’s help.
There were a huge number of characters, none of whom felt particularly well drawn – apart from Lily herself, who did maddeningly stupid things – although, at least these were picked up and pointed out by the other characters.
It took me a little while to read, it wasn’t the kind of book that I felt I had to return to every day, but when I did, I slipped back into it quite comfortably.
But did I like it?
Honestly, I’m not sure. But that’s why I’ve created a spreadsheet to help me work out if I like a book or not. I’m a fan of a spreadsheet.
From here-on, each book I read will be rated on several criteria – resulting in an average score out of five. This will also help me compile a proper Top 10 at the end of this year, instead of the hand picked one I created last year.
I like a chart.
I’m (probably) not going to go back and re-rate books I’ve read before, but to give you an idea on how the scale works I went back and re-rated two books from last year.
The one I liked the least Girl on the Train scored 1.4 on the scale out of 5 and A Little Life scored 4.6 – which is likely the closest we’re going to get to a perfect score.
I Take You by Eliza Kennedy is out now in Hardback and kicks off the new chart with a respectable 2.8 out of 5.