"'Tis the season to be jolly, except single Dubliner Jenny Breslin is feeling something a little closer to gloomy. Everything about her life - her boring job at the bank, the complete lack of romance - has been untouched by holiday magic, and she dreads the thought of spending yet another festive season with her larger-than-life mother and her new boyfriend. Thank God for Twitter, a place where there are always people ready and waiting to have a chat. She's even managed to make a couple of genuine friends there, even though she's never met them IRL (that's 'In Real Life' by the way). 'So who's on for a few days in Dublin? Would love to meet you all in person. I have a spare room in my house' - this drunken tweet to her Twitter pals changes Jenny's life forever. Before she knows it, she's counting down to a Christmas visit from London-native Zahra Burns, make-up artist to the stars; Fiona Lee, a stay-at-home mum from Galway, and nurse Kerry (the Twitter buddy Jenny feels closest to). Suddenly, Jenny becomes aware of how her life will appear to these strangers. In a word: Boring. It's easy enough to pretend that you're an exciting and sophisticated person when nobody can see you, but now Jenny's worried about being caught out in the occasional lies that she's told. All the more incentive to change her life for the better! But once her pals arrive, Jenny finds herself pining for the past and wondering if people are ever who they claim to be."
I do love a good debut novel, and when I was offered the opportunity to review Maria Duffy's new book Any Dream Will Do, I of course jumped at the chance. I think the cover is absolutely beautiful and really stands out, and it looks wonderfully wintery as well which is always a bonus in my book! I knew that the book is about Twitter as well, which sounded interesting as Twitter is getting ever-popular and I don't think anybody has actually written a book based around it before so I was curious to see how Duffy would deal with it and how easily it would be woven into the story.
The main character is a lady called Jenny, and I have to be honest and say from the off that I really didn't like her at all. I found her hard to warm to from the start and annoyingly my feelings towards her didn't change at all as the book progressed, something which I often find can be the case to be honest. Jenny seemed weirdly obsessed with Twitter - no reason was given for this obsession and her constant 'embellishing of the truth' shall we say, and I found it a bit odd. When she suggests a meet-up between her and her 3 online "friends", I think I could immediately see where it was going and was almost cringing because I knew Jenny was making an awful decision in meeting up with 3 total strangers. Jenny also had a strange relationship with her mother, and her new boyfriend, another thing that I disliked about her! It was clear that the man she was dating wasn't right for her yet she doesn't give it up, and I couldn't really understand her decisions with things like that! She seemed a very immature grown-up, very odd!
The three people Jenny meets on Twitter aren't exactly what they claimed to be when they finally descend of Dublin as per Jenny's instructions. I don't want to say too much but it went exactly as I thought it would go, and I found some of the scenes were just awful and I wanted to skip them because I felt so awkward reading them. It wasn't the writing style or anything to do with that, but it was just characters, their interactions and the general way that they were which didn't sit right with me, and as I said, I struggled to plough on through some scenes as they just felt like hard work. Jenny managed quite well considering the awful circumstances I suppose but I couldn't really sympathise with her as all I could think was that she had brought it on herself! I guess it goes to show the perils of a site like Twitter as well and how people can become anyone they want to be, and nobody on there is going to know any different.
Overall, this was a good book but it didn't blow me away like I was hoping for it too. I found the constant tweets throughout the book somewhat annoying as they broke up the flow of the rest of the novel, and I just hated the main character Jenny, never a good thing really! Duffy does weave a good story, and I can see she has the talent to write something amazing but this one just felt a bit clunky and awkward to me which was a shame. With dislikeable characters and a plot that's a bit far-fetched but does have it's funny moments, Any Dream Will Do is a strange kind of book that you might not completely love but there's something very readable about it which will make you want to keep reading until you've finished it, if only to find out how it'll all end for Jenny! Will she still be as obsessed with Twitter as ever or will her bad experience put an end to that?! Read it and find out!
ISBN: 978-1444726053. Published by Hachette Books Ireland on November 3rd 2011. Pages: 352. RRP: £12.99. Also available as an eBook.
Thank you to Maria for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitchloe.blogspot.com
Thank you for reading.