I hate this book, not for the storyline, which in the most part was good, but for the obnoxious and vile lead female protagonist Sarah. She pissed me off from the first page, whilst talking about the present. The past Sarah was fun. Shit happens, lives fall to shit. We get it.
This book made me cry tears of anger that should have been tears of sympathy, compassion and empathy of a pain I know is all to real. The way she wrote it brought back too many unhappy and heartbreaking memories.
I didn’t enjoy this book as a whole, there were parts and sections that amused me, hell, even made me chuckle. But in the long haul, no. It was a hard read, possibly because I had such a distaste towards Sarah, which is why it took me 10 days to read.
If you like fluff, with some heartbreak, trauma and love bits thrown in, oh and bucketload of guilt trips, this is the book for you.
Really wish I hadn’t picked this up. Could have done without it.
The SPOILERS REVIEW
This book, I can’t even begin to find the words for my complete and utter dislike of this book.
You start off with present day Sarah, hard nosed, not caring much, disrespectful of her partner’s (Jonathon) belief’s (he is an Amnesty International member and is very conscientious about the environment), as they rub her up the wrong way. Sarah doesn’t drink, goes to the gym and is very pretentious in how she views people.
Sarah spots a name on a list for an interview for the job of a Political Reporter (I forgot to mention, it’s set around 2 newspaper’s. Rugby Chronicle and the Birmingham Evening Gazette.) Nick Hardwicke. This woman starts having a meltdown, because of his name. We have all been there, we have spotted someone or even their name and it has induced sweaty palmed palpitations that we are all familiar with.
The second chapter is about the interviews, the other candidates and of course. Nick. He gets the job. Cayte, Sarah’s friend tries to do some digging on him. Notices something that Sarah didn’t in the interview. No wedding ring.
Cue the first lot of whiplash, the next chapter you are thrown into the past, you are greeted by a completely different Sarah. It’s dated Sunday 26th January 1997. It starts with Sarah talking about her boyfriend Mark and how he is drifting apart. She knows the inevitable is going to happen. Sarah goes to her new job at the Rugby Chronicle and meets Nick. Who completely bowls her over with his comical, charming and laddish behaviour. Sarah is swept up in the excitement of a job she has been training for and her new Editor, who seems to like her.
Back to the present (all the present day chapters are numbered, this one is “three”), Sarah is struggling to deal with the blast from her past that she has fought so hard to get away from. Nick has already made the other women in the office swoon with want. With Nick being back in the office, having known a different Sarah in the past, she decides to play it cool. Liquid Nitrogen cool.
Seriously, this book is so full of clichés.
The cat and mouse game begins. Nick starts chasing present Sarah, in the hope of finding past Sarah. Present Sarah is adamant the past version of herself is long gone. We know that the crack are starting to show and it’s becoming all too obvious that present Sarah is starting to want him as much as he wants her.
This is basically how the book pans out. Sarah trying to deny her feelings for Nick, whilst justifying staying with Jonathan is loyal and he does love her. Sarah starts wanting Nick again. Begins to change, whilst fighting the urge to ignore him and the hurt he caused. Then you meet Colin (who, is a bloody lovely character to read about). Two blasts from Sarah’s past in one week. Colin who used to be a Councillor going for the local elections is now a Big Issue seller and homeless. Sarah starts feeling as though her past is back to haunt her. Colin lost by one vote in the ’97 local election. Sarah is carrying guilt about this. Automatically assume, hers is the one vote.
The line that sealed how I felt about Sarah were:
“It was a gym for fit people, not fat people.”
That line among a few others, really pissed me off. The way the Sarah talked about everyone just really pissed me off. The contempt she held for Jonathan, his mother and her constant need to pass judgement over everyone, all whilst carrying a massive guilt complex.
Basically, the night of the election in ’97, Sarah and Nick were meant to be covering, after what feels like days but also feels like weeks of flirting, (Sarah finds out that Nick has a gorgeous Lawyer girlfriend and is devastated, Nick still pursues Sarah), the two decide to take what they have that step further. Sarah goes back to Nick’s after they share a ‘romantic’ pizza and end up screwing in the bed, he shares with Amanda (that’s the gorgeous lawyer). They finish and head over to the election night results thing and find out that Colin has lost by 1 vote.
It’s not until the cold light of day, that the guilt of being “the other woman” or being the 1 vote that lost Colin his election, kicks in. Sarah starts being unwell. I can’t say how long the affair goes on for, I wasn’t really paying attention to the bloody dates, but the guilt of it all makes Sarah really ill. Nick refuses to talk about anything other than them. Sarah gives Nick an ultimatum, Amanda or Me! This is when it gets messed up, fast, so expect more whiplash.
For Nick’s 30th birthday, there is a party, everyone will be there. Including Amanda. Sarah is taken by the lovely woman at the office (I can’t remember her name), Sarah starts enjoying herself. Nick says something which she takes to mean he has chosen her. It’s looking good until the speeches. Nick makes a speech. Then Amanda does. Amanda proposes to Nick. He accepts.
The guilt of the affair, the guilt of not voting and now being ungraciously dumped at a party hits Sarah like a brick wall. Sarah starts drinking a lot from this point. Not enough to effect her work, but her health is suffering, from the lack of eating (since the affair started she has been unable to keep anything down through guilt) and the drinking.
Nick announces that the wedding will be in a month after the party. Sarah goes into shock. Toys with the idea of not going. Wasn’t going to go until the morning of the wedding when she conveniently knocks some tampons out of a cupboard and remembers she hasn’t seen her period for a while. Straight to the chemist….
Can you see where this is going yet?!
The tests are positive. All the sickness must have bought her pill up and she caught. Sarah is now on a mission and tries to make her way to the church to explain to Nick, to try and stop him. Of course, there is a carnival in town. Sarah misses the ceremony and is a mess. Distraught, she buys two bottles of vodka and drinks them. Wakes up the next morning, early morning, wet and feeling ill. The cramps set in.
After making her way to the toilet as she feels she must have wet herself, Sarah turns a light on to see a trail of blood and a mass of bloody tissue (bodily tissues, not paper to wipe herself) in her underwear.
Now, this is where I should have cried tears of sympathy and empathy, even understanding, but they fell in anger. I wasn’t ready to remember my own miscarriage, in all it’s brutal bloodiness. Or the pain and guilt I had lived with myself.
Sarah adds another load of guilt onto herself, the guilt that she believes she killed the baby Nick had left her with.
The only reason I kept on reading was because I had to finish the book, Not to find out if she chose Jonathan over Nick, not to see if Colin’s night was spoilt again. But just to finish the book and toss it onto the “Never to be read again” pile.
I can’t fully understand why I hate this book as much as I do, as I have mentioned before, the storyline isn’t even that bad. I just couldn’t stomach it. I am glad it’s done, never to be thought of again.