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Dot.Homme - Jane Moore

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Author: Jane Moore / Genre: Fiction

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    5 Reviews
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      08.11.2009 13:32
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      Best left on the shelf

      Looking for something to tide me over during a long coach journey recently, I picked up this chick-lit novel by Sun columnist Jane Moore. I wanted something easy and trashy to read that I could dip in and out of, and it did the job, but it also left me with the kind of feelings of regret and disgust you get after eating a whole box of mediocre chocolates.


      The plot is as follows: we meet Jess Monroe as she celebrates her 34th birthday with her nearest and dearest in a London restaurant. Though she professes to be pretty happy, she is frustrated with many aspects of her life: her soulless job as a producer for a rubbishy daytime TV show, her interfering family, the fact she's too chicken to send her evil so-called friend Kara packing, and the emptiness she secretly feels having been single for a couple of years after her deadbeat boyfriend ran off with a young trustafarian, which possibly ruined Jess's chances of ever having kids before it's too late. But as luck would have it, everything changes when the not so well-meaning Kara presents Jess with a joke present: a subscription to an online dating site. Will Jess's 35th birthday see her in a brilliant new career, happy in the bosom of her loving family having narrowly averted a tragedy, rid of the annoying chum and engaged to the man of her dreams who just can't wait to put a ring on her finger and impregnate her? I'll leave that for you to decide...

      So what was good about this book? The narration (by Jess herself) is lively and the plot is well-paced. Jess's blind dates with man after unsuitable man offer plenty of scope for action and comedy. The book is fairly funny too, with lots of silly situations, scrapes and corny jokes that sometimes made me smile.

      Unfortunately the bad points far outweigh the positives. For a start, Jess is not a likeable character. She's a one-dimensional image of what the author thinks a single London girl is: a slim, pretty, heavy-drinking, spa-going babe with a glamorous job and tons of quirky friends, but looked down on by her family for being frivolous. This wouldn't necessarily be so annoying if Jess didn't spend most of the book harping on about how she wants a 'meaningful' life and career but doing little to find one (e.g. she hates working on a rubbishy TV show and thinks after doing one 'serious' report - a makeover for a charity worker! - she can be a scientific documentary-maker. But she spends her free time not job-hunting, but watching Eastenders).

      The other characters might as well have been cardboard cut-outs with signs on their foreheads saying "gay best friend", "slut with a heart of gold", "scheming bitch" etc. for all the depth they have. It would have saved the author the effort of giving them names. Jess's camp best mate wears outrageous outfits, doesn't talk but "drawls", is offensive to all and sundry and has virtually no topic of conversation apart from sex. Her flamboyant gay hairdresser colleague is identical. But hey, isn't that what all gay men are like? Er, no. Of course, Jess's mother is snobby and fussy and interfering, of course her father keeps quiet to keep the peace. Even the blind dates who make only a fleeting appearance are dull stereotypes - the clever engineer has greasy hair and bad dress sense and is incredibly uptight, while the cool, good looking guys are all conceited and nasty.

      The dialogue used by the characters is as superficial as they are, with a wide range of people sprinkling their sentences with "darling" (who really talks like this?). Their use of language relating to technology and the internet (and there's quite a bit, since this is a book about online dating) is also clumsy and laughably inaccurate.

      As for the style of narration: I did say above that some of the jokes made me laugh, and I do like a good cheesy pun more than most, but a lot of the jokes are recycled, including one I recognise from the first episode of The Golden Girls. What's more annoying though is the repetition throughout the book of certain phrases. Characters frequently "raise their eyes heavenward" or are "chomping at he bit". When they refer to someone standing next to them they "jerk their head" towards the person - but they do it so much I'm surprised they don't have whiplash. People are almost always "enveloped in a hug" rather than just hugged, and an inordinate amount of caution is thrown to the wind in this novel. There is also a lack of continuity: at the pivotal moment in the final chapter the character doing the big speech stands up without actually having sat down in the first place. At another point Jess is "feeling the blood rushing from my face" as she blushes. Occasionally there's even a word missing from the text. (In the end I started keeping a tally of how often heads were jerked and eyes raised and I must say it became quite entertaining in itself).

      The preachy tone was what really annoyed me when reading Dot Homme. Jess is desperate to have children as her sister has done, which is fair enough, but she doesn't seem to understand that there are many reasons why women don't procreate. She seems to think childless women are selfish and refuse to have kids just so that they can keep up their champagne-swilling, girly spa break lifestyles - as if that's how all single women live today. Jess makes it clear that she is not like these women. But she does want to be a high-flying career woman, and never stops to consider how this can impact a woman's ability to have a family, nor is there any contemplation of how this issue could perhaps be improved in modern society. Nope, you're either a mother or a child-hating, shallow hussy - that's the impression this book gives. Jess's sister even says she feels superior to women who choose not to have children, which seems incredibly narrow-minded as some people make this heartbreaking decision for health or other serious reasons. I found this incredibly judgemental and it seemed out of place for the author to push her views on the reader in this kind of lightweight novel. Jane Moore even seemed to forget towards the end of the book that it was a novel and not an article in a women's magazine or The Sun - Jess starts talking directly to the reader and advising them on matters of the heart, including online dating, saying we should try it. Well thanks, but I don't take advice from badly-drawn fictional characters created by preachy, mediocre authors.

      In conclusion, this book saw me through a 9-hour coach journey and kept me reasonably entertained, for which I am grateful, but writing this review has made me realise just how rubbish the novel was. I have nothing against chick lit as a genre and have read the good (Louise Bagshawe) and the so-bad-it's-funny (Martine McCutcheon), but this belongs somewhere along the 'don't bother' region of the scale. If I had been reading Dot Homme at home I probably would have abandoned it after a few chapters, on the grounds that it's unoriginal, judgemental, poorly-written, amateurish, predictable pap. Oh, and in case anyone was wondering: the few supposedly saucy scenes in this book are absolutely rubbish!

      ** This review also appears on ciao.co.uk under the same user name **

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      • More +
        06.02.2008 16:08

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        Very very poor. I found this book awfyl. What is the point in it. It is rude, poorly written and incoherent.

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        27.06.2007 19:36
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        I think most of us have done some of this book at sometime

        The story is about a single 34 year old woman named Jess Monroe, working behind the scenes on a daytime TV show. After a run of hopeless relationships Jess has decided that she is happy single, until her friend Kara decides to buy her an ad on an Internet dating site for her 34th birthday. Jess at first is annoyed and embarrassed, but after thinking about it for a while she decides to give it a go.

        The story continues with her having a string of predictably disastrous dates, with all sorts of strange men – most of which have not told her the truth. maybe sending Jess a photo that was taken 10 years ago or maybe not telling her the fact that they are actually married! Will Jess ever find the guy she looking for.

        then in the book she also finds out that her sister livvy has breat cancer. so you see hows she deals with this as well as the dating


        I found the book a definate snuggle and rea in bed book. it was enjoyable, it was quite funny in parts,

        the part where Jess found out that her sister had breast cancer was quite touching, as it dealt with the way a relative feels when they find out someone close to them is ill.
        As we all would possibly go through the thoughts of how we would cope with the loss of a sister and the way she felt she couldn’t talk to anyone about it, as her sister dealing ith an illness and her thoughts would be so irelavant in perspective. It makes the problems of her love life look tiny compared, and makes her realise what’s really important in life.

        However, on the subject of the breast cancer storyline, I thought perhaps it was a bit glossed over (if that’s the right expression!). What I’m trying to say (without giving away too much of the plot) is that it probably wouldn’t be much help or comfort to anyone who was actually suffering from cancer, as it was written almost as if she just had flu or something.

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        07.06.2007 02:37
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        predictable novel about internet dating

        The author of this book, Jane Moore, is a columnist with the sun, and often pops up on TV shows. I don’t regularly buy newspapers, so I don’t read her column, but whenever she appears on TV I find her intensely annoying, so I wouldn’t have chosen to buy a book by her, but this one came free with an issue of Cosmo, and I thought I’d give it a go.

        ~The Plot~

        The story centres around Jess Monroe, a single 34-year-old woman working behind the scenes on a daytime TV show. After a string of hopeless relationships Jess has decided that she is happy single, until her bitchy ‘friend’ Kara decides to buy her an ad on an Internet dating site for her 34th birthday. At first Jess is annoyed and embarrassed, but after thinking about it decides to give it a go.

        What follows is a string of predictably disastrous dates, with all sorts of strange men – most of whom have somewhat twisted the truth- whether it was sending Jess a photo that was taken 10 years ago or the fact that they are actually married! Will Jess ever be successful in her quest for the perfect guy?

        Apart from the light-hearted ‘chick lit’ side of this book, there is a more serious tone to this book, when Jess discovers her older sister Livvy, whom she is very close to, has breast cancer. How will she cope with this unexpected occurrence? You’ll just have to read to find out!

        ~What I thought~

        At first the book was quite enjoyable, it was quite funny in parts, although I think some of the humour was fairly predictable, and there was a distinct feeling that the author was trying too hard to make it funny, where that wasn’t really necessary to the story.

        I thought the part where Jess found out that her sister had breast cancer was quite interesting, in that it dealt with the way a relative feels when they find out someone close to them is ill. It was probably quite accurate in the way that Jess was having lots of thoughts along the lines of ‘how will I cope without my sister’, and the way she felt she couldn’t talk to anyone about it, as they would think she was really selfish. It also brings the problems of her love life right into perspective for her, and makes her realise what’s really important in life.

        However, on the subject of the breast cancer storyline, I thought perhaps it was a bit glossed over (if that’s the right expression!). What I’m trying to say (without giving away too much of the plot) is that it probably wouldn’t be much help or comfort to anyone who was actually suffering from cancer, as it was written almost as if she just had flu or something.

        All in all, although this novel was readable, it wasn’t particularly gripping or thought provoking. I think the author tried to move away from the whole chick-lit genre by adding the cancer storyline to make this less of a ‘fluffy’ novel, but on the whole it failed to make it that. The internet dating side of the story was predictable and very clichéd and stereotyped, and the ending was fairly predictable and somewhat rushed. On the strength (or should that be weakness) of this novel, I wouldn’t buy another novel by this author, and wouldn’t really recommend this book.

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          06.01.2006 21:13
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          The course of love never runs smoothly.

          Jess Monroe is a 34 year old singleton. She’s fairly happy being alone but, alas, her friends do not share her opinion. So as a birthday ‘treat’ they buy her an advertisement on an internet dating site.

          Not at all happy with her gift, she is at first angry at the intrusion into her personal life but eventually relents and agrees to give it a try. Unfortunately the men she meets appear to be a little ‘economical with the truth’ – whether it be the fact that they are married or the fact that the photo they submitted on the site is 20 years old!

          So begins the task of meeting Mr Right. From the one who escapes through the kitchens of a well known Covent Garden restaurant leaving her saddled with the bill to Mr Obnoxious who complains about *everything* on the menu (at full volume), Jess is tested to the limit in her quest for lurrrrrve.

          * What I thought *

          I had never read any books by Jane Moore and probably wouldn’t have chosen this. Only at the time this book was published, I heard the author on Radio 2 talking about Dot.Homme and it sounded like my kind of thing. It’s an interesting outlook, at times hilarious and what’s so good about it is that it’s laughably realistic. It’s set in London, which I can strongly identify with (not to mention the fact I’m *ahem* around the same age as the 'heroine' of the book) and Moore has the misgivings and apprehensions of Jess down to a tee.

          The book did grab my attention from the start. The chapters cleverly start with the ad that Jess has responded to – and of course, in true Hollywood style, they don’t ever go smoothly or according to plan. Nine out of ten times the men look nothing like their photograph, which always happens to be blurred. And one guy she meets is so dishevelled and strange looking that when he turns up at the designated meeting spot, Jess pretends to be someone else and runs away!

          To start with I felt Moore was trying a bit too ‘hard’ with the funnies. Jokes like ‘he was more P&O Cruise than Tom Cruise’ and ‘more Pig Penn than Sean Penn’ did irritate me slightly as it reminded me of Kathy Lette’s style of writing, which I really don’t like. However this was a minor quibble that didn’t ruin the rest of the story as I found it very amusing and at times had a few chuckles to myself.

          She then redeems herself with quotes like ‘Someone remove the butter knife before I throw myself on it’. I think any gal that reads this will probably identify with Jess on some level!

          * Other issues *

          Far from being completely lightweight, this does tackle a more serious issue which is dealt with in a surprisingly sensitive way. A family illness brings Jess’ problems into perspective as she has to face the prospect of losing someone very close to her. So from being highly amusing, the tone takes a sombre turn and Moore cleverly manages to balance the two stories very well without one ever overpowering the other.

          Plus great other characters are introduced – Jess’ bitchy boss, her friends the gay couple Richard and Lars, and the delightfully sullen Kara, who once saved Jess’ life and has been a thorn in her side ever since!

          If you like chick lit, fluffy stuff in a similar style to Jane Green or Sophie Kinsella, this is probably for you. This will be a great read for the beach and has a very eye catching front cover (according to Moore, in two different colours!). I spotted the alternative cover in Woolworths, with bright red lips and a scarlet fingernail in a ‘shhhh’ pose but my cover is the more neutral make up with the pouty glossy lips and nude colour nail polish (shown above).

          * About the author *

          If you’re wondering where you heard the name Jane Moore, she is a columnist for The Sun and also writes regular articles for the Sunday Times. She also regularly co-presented the ITV lunch time show ‘Loose Women’. And I’m pretty sure I recognise her from appearing on ‘The Weakest Link’ at some point!

          Her two other novels are ‘Fourplay’ and ‘The Ex Files’.

          * Other info *

          ISBN 0-09-946502-7
          452 pages
          RRP £6.99

          * Verdict *

          OK so this is a little predictable. I could see how the book was going to finish and who she was going to end up with pretty much half way through. However there's enough distraction with the 'other' storyline to lay down the foundations for a smooth, if unsurprising, ending.

          This is an excellent and enjoyable holiday read. It’s almost like peeking in on someone else’s unsuccessful love life, and while we can at least snigger at Jess’ bad luck with the men, we can also relate to the support she gives her family and friends in a time of crisis. She comes across as a likeable character, funny and loyal.

          Recommended with the full five stars. There’s a fair amount of swearing in it if you’re particularly offended by that. I usually am – but in this instance it’s all done in good part.

          Thanks for reading.

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        • Product Details

          Jess Monroe is 34 and perfectly happy being single. But her friends think otherwise and, as a birthday present, buy her an ad on an Internet dating site. Furious, she eventually agrees to try it out - and ventures into a world where the description on the tin rarely matches the contents. Once her reservations have faded, she embarks on several dates of varying success - until one day a catastrophic event brings her life sharply into focus and makes her re-evaluate everything she's ever known.