Book Review: My Legendary Girlfriend by Mike Gayle
October 12, 2012 19 Comments
I’ve read several books by this UK author and they are what you’d call lad-lit (chick-lit for men), except for his best book, The To-Do List, which is non-fiction and one of my favorite books. My Legendary Girlfriend falls in the lad-lit category again and was very good.
The book is quite clever, covers only a weekend in which the main character spends most of his time at home, but still, on Monday morning, a lot has changed. The book becomes rather unrealistic in the end, but that is all part of the fun.
My Legendary Girlfriend: What it is about
Will Kelly is 26 years old and has just finished his first week as a teacher at a secondary school in London. It’s Friday night and while he would love to go out with friends, he isn’t. Because he’s new to London, doesn’t know many people. He’s stuck in his dilapidated newly-rented room. His phone is his lifeline and during the weekend he calls (and gets called by) friends, family, and even someone unknown, who he has several interesting conversations with.
He has been feeling sorry for himself for years. Three to be precise. On his birthday three years ago, his girlfriend Aggi broke up with him, and he still hasn’t recovered from the shock. He still wants her back. Aggi has meanwhile moved on. Will’s other friends are Alice whom he has been platonic friends with forever, and Simon who is starting to become a well-known musician.
Now it’s his birthday again. It’s bound to be a lonely one.
My Legendary Girlfriend: What I thought
This book was very funny, laugh out loud funny in places. It was also a bit cliché: a young man not looking after himself or the place he lives in, surviving on snacks and not bothering with the basics of personal hygiene. But maybe that’s very realistic, actually?
Will spends a lot of time on the phone, and in fact, that is where most of the story takes place. I thought this was very clever, as in Will’s physical life, not much is happening, but in his head there is. And his relationship with the people on the phone changes also over the weekend, in most cases dramatically so.
If you’re not so into male books, some of it may be a bit boring: Get a life already, Will!, you might think. But Will will get a life when he is ready, and that is sooner than you might think.
Towards the ending things happen that are rather unlikely, but that fit really well with the general atmosphere of the book. So, as a reader, I was happy to accept these developments and enjoy the rest of the story.
Rating: 5 (out of 5)
Number of pages: 352 (my Dutch edition)
First published: 1998 (UK, Dutch edition, Mijn legendarische Ex, 2002)
I got this book: from a second-hand book stall
Genre: contemporary fiction, lad-lit
Have you read this book?
Did you enjoy it?