Summary: It’s official. Hannah has left her friends and family in the US behind and is following her dream. To live in London. Unfortunately she's completely unprepared for what's in store.
She’s going to find:
1. Her dream guy. A prince or Hugh Grant would be nice. Or does she have to settle for her half-naked Australian housemate or an "English gentleman" with terrible hygiene habits?
2. Her dream job. Something fantastic in fashion. So how has she ended up being the mini-me for an evil party planner who doesn’t even trust her to arrange the paperclips?
3. Her dream friends. But everyone in London seems to have known each other for years and Hannah’s having trouble getting to know nice people. Who’s she going to have fun with?
Dream life? Should Hannah just dream on? Maybe it would have been simpler and cheaper to just get a new haircut. Was she mad to move 3,000 miles away from everyone she knows? Will she ever find love and her perfect life in England?
Let me just start out by saying that I don't read a lot of adult books, because to be honest, they usually have the ability to bore me to tears (they have a tendency to tell stories about aspects of life I have no desire at all to read about).
I can happily say that this book was one of the rare exceptions. It was light and funny, it had me laughing out loud a bunch of times. Even when there wasn't much happening plot wise, just being inside Hannah's head and seeing the world through her eyes kept me amused.
It's funny, when reading books set in Britain I don't expect to find out new things about my culture because I've lived here my whole life and nearly everyone I know is British too... and yet seeing my country from Hannah's perspective made me aware of a lot of things about this place and being British that I never even noticed before.
For example, our tendency to apologize a lot when we actually don't have anything to be sorry for. While reading, I kept having "oh my god, I really do that!" moments. When I started reading the book, in the first chapter, I even had to stop reading to go on MSN and ask my co-blogger if Americans really didn't put butter on their sandwiches because the idea of that just baffled me - psh, mayo as a butter substitute indeed!
To be honest, a big part of the reason I liked the book so much was Hannah. She's the kind of person I wish I could be - the kind of person who will spontaneously make a life altering decision, like moving to another continent, and it doesn't matter if she fails because at least she tried and when embarrassing things happen to her, she doesn't let them cripple her (some of the cringe-y things that happen to her would have me running off, blushing like a tomato to hide in my bedroom but she faces up to things).
I really wish I could be like that -- she's not fearless and she has her doubts but she's brave enough to try and that makes her quite an inspirational character and the best part is, the story is really realistic. She is inspirational in a realistic way that makes you think "well, if she can do it then why can't I?" and I don't need to remind myself that it's fiction because it could happen.
While we're on the subject of realistic aspects of the book: Sam. He was lovely and he's not one of those fictional guys that leaves you feeling sad because they're not real and wishing he was real... because guys like him do exist.
I really adored Hannah's friends too and the little footnotes that explain the Americanisms throughout the book.
Michele did a really awesome job writing this book because she managed to keep the story real without making it dull. She didn't sugarcoat life to make it seem all excitement and drama and she didn't sugarcoat romance to make it seem like it's all rainbows and butterflies and every relationship will end in happily ever after -- she showed the normal things, the boredom and embarrassing moments, the imperfections in life... but she did it in such a way that I never found myself losing interest or wanting to skim through those bits to get to the good stuff because it was all good stuff.
Basically, I really liked the book and I'm glad I was sent a copy for review because like I said, it's not one I would've picked up on my own and I would've missed out on a really good book. It had a real Bridget Jones' Diary-ish charm to it, I really recommend it.
You can follow Michele on Twitter (@expatdiaries) or contact her through www.michelegorman.co.uk. Single in the City is available through most bookshops and online, including Amazon (UK, US, Canada, Germany, France, Japan)