Today it is my great pleasure to be joining the blog tour for The Shape of Us by Drew Davies. A massive thanks to Kim Nash of Bookouture for including me in the tour and providing the advance copy for review. Here is that the book is all about.
If you read one book this year, make it this hilarious and emotional novel about love, loss and second chances. Fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, The Note and Jojo Moyes will be utterly charmed by this unique love story.
One day in London…
Daisy is rushing to work when a stranger on a bicycle almost knocks her over – and then asks for her number.
Dylan, a teenage boy, lives with an illness which means he can’t leave his bedroom – but which hasn’t stopped him from falling hopelessly in love.
JoJo, a wife in her sixties, is trying desperately to win her beloved husband back from his mistress.
Adam has recently lost his job and lies to his housemate about where he goes every day.
These four total strangers – whose paths cross in the charming city of London – have one thing in common. They are all lonely souls looking for love. But what are the chances of them actually finding it?
An absolutely unputdownable, uplifting and unforgettable book-club read for anyone who has ever made a mistake, been broken-hearted, or waited by their phone for it to ring.
The first thing I will say is that when I started reading this book I was put in mind of a kind of cross between Sliding Doors and Love Actually, with a whole dose of the London vibe. The book takes us into the world of a group of very different, and yet surprisingly connected, individuals as they navigate life, love and, in Adam’s case, work, in the City. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting when I chose to read the book, but I think that this makes it quite refreshing and overall more enjoyable. It is grounded far more in reality than the fantastical fairy tale romance that can dominate relationship books.
I don’t really want to go too far into the story, on in this case, stories, of the book as the blurb really does give you all you need to know about what is driving the characters in the story. Rather than being told as a series of character driven short stories, which is a format the book could very easily have taken, they are broken down into what feels more like vignettes, taking each central character’s life in turn as the reader navigates their way through the chapter. Now for some this may provide some confusion, and I can see the arguments for and against this style of drifting from one character to the next. But the stories, and the narrative styles, are unique in each case and it is easy to see whose story we are following now. At least, it is in the early chapters …
The more you read on, the more you come to realise that in spite of these seeming like four completely random and unconnected stories, there are elements from each story which intersect the others. The author has done a brilliant job of subtly feeding characters into the lives of the others in the book, not so much that they ever take centre stage, more that they hover on the periphery, informing the ongoing action in varying ways.
There are some very likeable characters developed in this book. If I had to pick one, I’d say that Dylan was the one I liked the most, and in many ways his struggle with his unrequited crush was something I think many people will relate to, and some of the scenes with his father, especially one after he finds something a little … unusual … in Dylan’s search history, lend some both tender and comedic moments to the text. I really kind of liked JoJo too, and her determination to continue having an affair with her own husband was full of humorous moments, but took a very surprising turn half way through. It just goes to show that you can still act with maturity when faced with the break up of a marriage. Sort of.
If I struggled with one part of the book, it was quite possibly Adam’s story as I really don’t see how it fit in. The links to the other stories were there, but his wasn’t really a story of relationships, at least not in the same semi-romantic sense of the other stories, and I think it would have worked as well without him in it. Sadly this appears to be the story of Adam’s life, and many other singletons in the city no doubt, so perhaps this was the role he ultimately had to play.
If you are looking for a fun, reality based relationship story, one which takes a very candid look at what it means to date in the city, filled with romantic gestures, relationship goofs, moments of comedy and moments which will tug at your heartstrings, then I’d say this could be the book for you. No – it’s not all hearts and flowers. It’s life.
If you would like to purchase a copy of the book, it is available from the following retailers:
About the Author
Drew Davies was born in London and grew up in New Zealand. He attended the Unitec School of Performing Arts in Auckland and won a Playmarket New Zealand Young Playwright of the Year award in 2000. After a brief stint on a kiwi soap, he has worked in Search for the past 15 years. Drew’s other claim to fame is that Stephen Fry once called him droll. Either that, or he got his name wrong. He now lives in Wanstead, London. The Shape of Us is his first romantic comedy.