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Gym and Slimline - Emma Burstall

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Genre: Fiction / Author: Emma Burstall / Paperback / 288 Pages / Book is published 2008-08-21 by Preface Publishing

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      09.07.2009 18:18
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      A really brilliant debut!

      *****THE SYNOPSIS*****

      A swanky new gym has opened in leafy south-west London. Four women bond over push ups and Pilates and become firm friends.

      Percy likes sorting out other people's problems, but her own life is a shambles, with a terrible secret addiction. Can she kick it and win back the love of her husband? Patrice, wealthy but damaged, wants another baby, but husband Jonty isn't interested in sex. Is it her imagination, or is he getting too close to the husband of one of her new friends? Carmen is living dangerously, determined to get pregnant by her cold, treacherous boyfriend. She doesn't see what is under her nose until it's nearly too late. Suzanne adores her sexy second husband, but is she neglecting him for her job? And has she realised what is happening to her teenage daughter?

      New best friends. Their friendship is about to be tested to the limit.

      *****MY REVIEW*****

      Gym and Slimline is Emma Burstall's debut novel and tells the story of four women who met at a gym, Gym & Slimeline, and became firm friends. There's Percy who loves helping other people with their problems but has a huge secret of her own, Suzanne who loves her second husband but is she neglecting him for her job?, Patrice who wants a second baby only her husband, Jonty, isn't interested and then there's Carmen who is desperate for a baby with or without her boyfriend Simon.

      I loved Gym & Slimline and found it a very interesting debut. Not only is it well written but the characters, Percy, Patrice, Suzanne and Carmen, are all different from each other and so completely different to usual chick-lit characters.

      I enjoyed reading about all four friends because they all had problems and worries and none of them had an easy ride. Generally female characters in the novels I read don't have the same problems these friends faced. It's usually an easy ride but not for Percy, Patrice, Suzanna and Carmen. Far from it.

      Percy's secret addicition was great to read about and very well written by Emma. You could really feel for Percy and I was willing her on through-out. Her addiction scenes were very fast paced and I found myself reading as quick as I could to see what happened!

      Suzanne and Patrice with their husband worries: Is Suzanne neglecting Justin for her work. I liked how Suzanne was written, being a workaholic, and could undestand her difficulties with her children because of the fact she was a workaholic. I could also sympathise with Patrice who wanted a second baby so Seamus wouldn't be an only child. Trouble is Jonty her husband wasn't interested at all.

      I liked how Carmen was so independent and how she coped with realising she wanted a baby. It was interesting to learn about her past and how past things had affected her. I found her boyfriend, Simon, unlikeable though.

      Not only did they face the problems above but they also has relationship difficulties. Percy's marriage seemed to be falling apart, Suzanne and Patrice's husbands had shocking secrets and Simon, Carmen's boyfriend, seemed unwilling to commit. We also learnt of the relations between their families.

      Throughout the whole novel we had sessions at the gym, where the friends had first met, and I found that it worked to have those scenes in the book - after all it was where the friends met and so it was nice to read the scenes with them all working out in the gym or having coffee afterwards.

      Gym and Slimline was a brilliant novel. A really great debut novel. It was so much darker than regular chick lit and dealt with a lot of different issues: secret addictions, infidelity, wanting a child... the list is endless.

      Emma Burstall has put herself on my must-read authors list and I can't wait for her second novel.

      *****NOTES*****

      Also posted at http://chicklitreviews.wordpress.com

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