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This book is the follow up to Matt Dunn's earlier book, The Ex-Boyfriend's Handbook, which was a book that I thoroughly enjoyed, so I had been looking forward to finding out what would happen to the main character Ed in this instalment.
Ed Middleton works for a recruitment agency and is well established in his relationship with Sam, the fitness trainer who he met in the previous book and who helped him to get over being dumped by his girlfriend, Jane. Thanks to Sam's help Ed is now a fit good looking guy and has achieved everything he had set out to i.e. giving up the over eating, drinking and smoking lifestyle that he had drifted into. The only problem is that his original goal had been to attract Jane back again. Jane comes back on the scene in Ex-Girlfriends United and as expected finds the new look Ed irresistible. Ed therefore has to work out what he should do; he knows what he wants, but he seems capable only of going about things in the wrong way and mucking things up. He comes across as quite a naive character who is trying hard to get things right. I found him quite endearing and really wanted things to work out well for him.
Dan Davis, Ed's best mate, is the other main character in this book. He has a much higher profile in this book than previously, which was a negative experience for me. I find him an intensely annoying character. I know that I wouldn't like him if he was a real person that I came across. He is a TV presenter who is so full of himself. During the book he auditions for a part in a daytime soap as a character, Wayne Kerr, or 'Wanker' as people pronounce it. This sums up his character precisely. As we meet him we learn that his previously constant supply of women, who he has extremely short relationships with, has dried up. The reason for this is revealed when Ed and Dan discover a website called 'Slate Your Date' on which many of the girls who Dan has treated so badly have shared their experiences. Ed tries to help Dan to understand why the girls are so cross with him and to help him realise the error of his ways and how he can make amends.
Approximately 95% of the book is made up of dialogue between Ed and Dan, as they try to help each other to work on their own dilemmas. They seem to find it impossible to just have a regular conversation. They are constantly giving analogies and examples to expand on any point they make and seem to feel that this will help them to understand better what they mean. Maybe this is what men do, when they talk on their own, but I just found it annoying - I wanted them to get to the point and talk straight. Occasionally there was a small part in the book where Ed is alone or Sam is with Ed and it came as a real relief to lose these prolonged conversations. I give the author credit though, for the dialogue. I would never have been able to be as creative and think of half of the analogies that he has. A quote on the back cover from Company magazine says "Full of great one-liners....a terrifying eye-opener into what men really think". I would completely agree with this and think that maybe men would prefer reading this book and be able to relate to it better than women.
The book does present as a 'chick lit' type of book. I normally enjoy these when I need a quick easy book to read either on holiday or following reading a heavy going book. In this case I was not feeling well and wanted to read something light hearted and had been keeping this book for just such an occasion. I have been disappointed though. I actually found myself wishing that the book would end as soon as possible. I did consider stopping reading, but wanted to find out what the outcome would be for Ed. It was primarily the character of Dan and his increased role in this book that led to me having a completely different impression of the two books.
I can only give this book a rating of three stars as I was on the verge of stopping reading, but accept that other people may prefer this style of writing and not have such an issue with Dan's complete lack of respect of women.
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The Sequel to Matt Dunns genius novel 'Ex Boyfriends Handbook' picks up were the previous book left off booth in terms of plot and quality of the writing.
This time we find the Adorable Edward happily settled in to his new relationship with Sam when his world is turned upside down by the return of his ex Jane, the protagonist from the first book.
Meanwhile Edwards self involved best friend Dan is finding his love life on the downward slide thanks to bad reviews from many of his one night conquests on a rate you date website.
Once again follow the boys as they learn more about what it takes to keep a women happy and realize that sometimes it just can't be done.
Once again Matt done has written a novel brimming with humor, a fair few touching moments and some truly likable characters
This is a great incite in to the minds of men and one can only hope that Dunn will bring the guys back for a 3rd outing.
I became a big fan of Matt Dunn's work when I read my first novel of his entitled 'From Here to Paternity' on holiday in Mauritius. I absolutely loved it, and recently went on to read another of his books 'The Ex-Boyfriends Handbook' which I again loved! I thought this boded well for any future releases of his, so when I saw his new book, 'Ex-Girlfriend's United' on the shelf in Sainsburys a couple of months ago for only £3.49, I couldn't resist. Now that Christmas is over and things are calming down a bit, I've gotten back into reading again and swooped through this book in a couple of evenings because I just couldn't put it down!
Being a sequel to previous best seller 'The Ex-Boyfriends Handbook', the book picks up again with main character Dan Davis and Ed Middleton and their escapades with the women of Brighton. Ed is still happy with personal trainer girlfriend Sam, but Dan is suffering a bit of a woman drought. He quickly finds out that all of his ex-girlfriends have been rating him on website SlateYourDate.com. Dan's determined to rectify these poor ratings, and Ed decides to help him change his caddish ways. But just as Ed is finally settling down, a blast from the past makes their way back into Ed's life to disrupt everything...
As I mentioned, I absolutely adored this book's prequel, and consequently it got a glowing review from me! I recommended it to a few people who also loved it, so I'm glad it wasn't just me! I was really hoping for the standard writing to be the same, and the relationships between the main two characters of Ed and Dan to be the same once more. Luckily for me, I was thrilled to discover that it was and within the first couple of pages I was hooked again! Despite it being a few months between reading this book and its predecessor, I found I got into the characters so quickly because of Dunn's writing, and it was like getting back with old friends.
The previous book chose to focus mainly on Ed's character and Dan was more of a subsiduary one, albeit most definitely the comic relief throughout the book. This book however follows more of Dan's life, his disastrous lovelife being the main plot. The idea of a website being created to rate awful men after dates is fantastic, and the way it is done in the book is brilliant! Dan's got such a bad reputation its not surprising no woman will touch him with a bargepole and his discovery of these reviews is simply hilarious. It's nice to see the womaniser being taken down a peg or two, btu despite his awful behaviour I just can't help but love Dan! He's such a prat but he's great for it lol!
It was nice to see some old familiar characters come back, from the main pair to Wendy the barmaid and as I said a face from Ed's past even makes an appearance which throws an interesting twist onto the book and an element we didn't really get from the first book. Dunn seems to have a really natural way of putting men's feelings onto paper, yet making it incredibly funny and appealing for women to read as well. Because of this, I can easily see that this is going to be a book that both men and women can read and both enjoy. Women will probably be glad they don't know any men like Dan and men will be glad that they aren't Dan! Being written again from Ed's perspective, you get right into the story and the characters, and just get so absorbed into it, you can't put it down!
As you probably tell from my glowing review of yet another Matt Dunn book, I just can't recommend this book enough to anyone who enjoys a fun and easy read that is 100% guaranteed to make you laugh! I would say that you should read the two books in order, so read 'The Ex-Boyfriends Handbook' before you read this to set the scene and get to know the characters and why they are like they are in this book. So that's 3 out of 4 books of Dunn's I have loved, and I'll be getting the first of his books from the library soon enough and I can't wait! It's a brilliant read, with an easy to read writing style, great characters, great plot and is just brilliant. I loved it!
ISBN: 978-1847390684. Published by Pocket Books in October 2008. The paperback copy has 416 pages, and has an RRP of £6.99. Currently selling on Amazon for £3.49 (plus postage).
Author website: http://www.mattdunn.co.uk
Thank you for reading.