There are times when a novel hooks you in from the first sentence, dragging you into a whirlwind of pleasure from the start. This is not one of those times.
Before I go any further, I need to point out that it's worth persevering. I was always taught to give a book at least three chapters before you decided to not go any further, and generally I've found that to be a valuable rule; certainly it was worthwhile with Giovanna Fletcher's Some Kind of Wonderful.
So what's the problem? Well, it's a mild one, but I took an instant dislike to Lizzy, the story's protagonist. The book begins with Lizzy whinging about the fact that her boyfriend had yet to propose to her, divulging with the trusted reader that to be engaged is the one thing she wants more than anything in the world. Why, then, I can't help but ask her, does she not 'pop the question' herself?
As a feminist, I wanted to slap Lizzy. I know, I know, it's not very 'be kind to your sisters'. Still, I was close to launching the paperback across the room as I couldn't understand why on earth, if she was as desperate to marry as she claimed to be, didn't she make the herself? This is the twenty-first century. What could possibly be stopping her?
Still, despite my enormous distaste for Lizzy, I carried on with the story, and, ignoring from the irritating fact that 'realise' is consistently spelled as the Americanism 'realize' (this is a British publication), my blood pressure does decrease.
The narrative progresses steadily, and Lizzy does go on a journey that's pleasant enough to follow. She became less irritating - I didn't like her, but I could agree with some of her actions - and admittedly she did slot into the narrative with ease.
There's some good development, and at no point did I think the story was dragging or heading off in a disagreeable direction. Characters were also introduced at a steady pace too, which is something a lot of authors fail to do, so definitely credit where it's due.
This was the first of Fletcher's novels I've read, and I can say with my hand on my heart that this chicklit is not for me. I know there will be a strong audience for Some Kind of Wonderful, but personally I needed a more headstrong protagonist. Yes, the character development is good, but as I am so opposed to Lizzy's initial attitude it's so hard to shake off that feeling of loathing that would then allow me to become emotionally invested in her story.
If you like themes of love and self discovery, and in the form of an easy read, maybe this one is for you. If, like me, you prefer deeper topics and more agreeable character traits from a feminist perspective, then it may be best for the good of your health to give it a miss.
By Amy McLean