Title: The Best Things (review copy)
Author: Mel Giedroyc
Genre/Themes: Contemporary Adult, Family Dynamics
Blurb from Goodreads
It’s the story of a family who lose everything, only to find themselves, and each other, along the way.
Sally and Frank Parker have it all.
Then one day, because of Frank, they don’t.
As the bailiffs move in and the money runs out, Sally realises that she and her children don’t have a clue about how to survive.
Or do they?
The Parkers are about to discover that the best things in life aren’t things at all.
Warm, funny, life-affirming and true, The Best Things is the joyous debut novel from much-loved comedian, writer, actor and presenter Mel Giedroyc.
I’ve always liked the TV duo Mel and Sue; so much that a few years ago I read Sue’s memoir ‘Spectacles’ and really enjoyed it.
So when Mel’s first foray into adult fiction appeared on NetGalley it was a no-brainer to hit that request button. Therefore I had such high hopes for this… especially when I’ve enjoyed Graham Norton’s (another BBC TV presenter) fiction too. I thought that the warmth I always felt from Mel on screen would translate to a great read.
Sadly it did not.
The book opened with a very odd passage about manure… honestly I’m still scratching my head as to what the heck was the point of that. It was one of the poorest openings to a novel I’ve ever read. I think it was meant to be some sort of metaphor for life? Who knows!
Then at least the book got properly underway…. but at breakneck speed! It was like there were too many plates spinning in the air all at once with the writing constantly trying to keep up to each plate. By that I mean the plot was frequently incoherent with strange time jumps and changes in character perspective. There were far too many cliches when it came to creating the cast of characters and the book relied far too heavily on sticking rigidly to tropes rather than bringing a freshness to them. It was just exhausting to read.
I also disliked the feel of the narrative of the book; the writing never flowed naturally and was frequently rather crass in tone. It just felt like a writer that didn’t know her own style; to me it seemed as if the author was trying to cater to her perceived audience rather than write the book in an authentic fashion. Ultimately I began to feel that the book was suffering from a case of attempting to cater to many but pleasing none. I therefore decided to DNF after five chapters (20%) as I just could not see myself enjoying this novel at all.
I’m so disappointed by this novel. I was really excited to read something by one of my favourite TV personalities but sadly this was a let down for me.
*An e-copy was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley for honest review*
Publishing 1st April 2021, Headline