Coco Pinchard was never a single thirty-something. She married young, had a son, and put her dream to be a writer on hold. Now her first novel is published. Husband Daniel has greyed nicely into a silver fox, and son Rosencrantz is grown up. It should be time to enjoy life. That is, until the annual family Christmas when her hideous mother-in-law Ethel comes to stay, and Coco opens her gift from Daniel. It’s not the jewellery she chose, but an iPhone. This marks the start of Daniel’s mid-life crisis and she catches him in bed with a younger woman.
The iPhone becomes a confessional of sorts, through emails to her friends Chris, an ageing trustafarian and Marika a slightly alcoholic schoolteacher. Coco documents her seemingly endless (and often entertaining!) run of bad luck. Then she meets the hunky Adam and she’s back in the world of dating as a single forty-something…
This book is well-written and engaging, and the book maintains the reader’s interest (which is hard to do when the book is made up entirely of emails). It does take a bit to familiarise yourself with the characters in the story – they don’t have common names (*cough* Rosencrantz *cough*) and it takes a bit to warm up to them.
I do think the ‘trigger’ – Coco finding Daniel in bed with someone else – needs to happen sooner in the story. It takes a little too long to get there, and the reader is left wondering, ‘so what is going to happen in this story?’ for the first 25 pages. The best piece of writing advice I’ve ever been given is ‘start on the day that’s different’. This story needs to start a little closer to the day when Coco finds out Daniel is cheating, so that the reader is engaged from the start.
The dialogue is well written and Coco’s life is a strong reminder of Bridget Jones’ Diary. Although sometimes things happen to Coco that seem a little farfetched and even if it happened to Bridget Jones, it’d be a little unbelievable. Robert has written this novel well, and Coco’s voice is spot on for a woman her age. The plot is well-paced (although at times a little slow moving) and events seem to unfold in a natural, believable manner.
My Score: 7/10