A Refreshing Spin

Nine Uses for an Ex-Boyfriend – Sara Manning

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We’ve all had a useless boyfriend at some point in our lives. From those who feel nauseous as soon as the word ‘commitment’ is uttered, to those who think they can get away with sleeping with other women. The main protagonist, Hope, in Sara Manning’s Nine Uses for an Ex-Boyfriend has to deal with both these deal breakers.

Not another book centred on a weeping girlfriend trying to seek revenge on an ex-boyfriend, I hear you cry. Essentially it is but there is something about this novel, especially the ending, which differs from the usual romantic fiction prototype. It also helps that the two main characters are uber cool; Jack works as a designer for a magazine and constantly gives freebies to Hope, they also do things like go to gigs and host dinner parties.

Hope has been with Jack for thirteen years, they’ve grown up together from first kisses to moving into together and planning their future. Their mothers are best friends and have been planning the pair’s wedding ever since they first became an item. However the longed for fairytale unravels during a disastrous dinner party Hope organises where she walks in on Jack kissing her amazingly perfect best friend Susie. From this point the book digresses into a counselling session as we learn of Hope’s ups and downs as she tries to repair her already fractured relationship with Jack. We are subjected to Hope’s numerous hangovers and demolishment of entire boxes of chocolates.  I lost count at the number of times they broke up and then decided to get back together. There were occassions where I began to lose patience with the pair and just wanted to hit them.

Ever the optimist I did think Hope and Jack would live happily ever after and was surprised at the open ending Manning gave Hope, a rather refreshing take on the stiff and stereotypical chic lit genre.

What also makes the novel very readable is the hilarious secondary characters. Hope’s pushy mother seemed to have no concern for Hope’s feelings instead blaming her daughter for Jack’s adultery and believing it would kill Hope’s grandmother if the pair did not get married. Wilson, Susie’s ex boyfriend and eventually Hope’s shoulder to cry on, is described asso achingly cool that he appears boring but by the end of the book he becomes the only sane character in all the shenanigans.

The book is a must read for those who want something light hearted and it will definitely be staying on my bookshelf (aka the top of my wardrobe). A word of warning though, the novel is predominantly set during Christmas time, so do not make the same mistake I did and read it during a heat wave as you will be longing for mince pies and to hear that god awful Cliff Richard song.

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