I normally avoid girlie type books, preferring to read thrillers. However, while I was on holiday earlier in the year, I ran out of books to read. The hotel had a sort of library where guests can leave any books they have finished, which allows other guests to pick them up and have a read. It was while I was looking through the library that I came across the book Running Away From Richard which is written by Chris Manby.
The story follows a girl called Lizzie Jordan who has just been dumped by her boyfriend Richard. This couldn't have come at a worse time for Lizzie as she is due to be the Maid of Honour at her best friend's wedding. The last thing Lizzie wants or needs is to attend a wedding where everyone is loved up. Lizzie attends the wedding, gets really drunk and makes a fool of herself during her speech.
Lizzie and Richard lived together so Lizzie finds herself having to move out of the house they shared. Her only option is to move back in with her parents in Solihull which she really doesn't want to do. By chance, Lizzie is offered the chance to stay in California with an old school friend. Lizzie is an actress and up until now has not had very much luck in getting anywhere. Could this be her chance to further her acting career? If Richard sees that Lizzie has made it as a successful actress, surely she can win back his affection?
Lizzie heads off to California to meet her old school friend Fat Joe. However, it is Joanna, the female version of Fat Joe that turns up to meet Lizzie at the airport. Lizzie suddenly realises that life in California is going to be very different from what she had imagined. Within a month, Lizzie has landed herself a job, although it wasn't quite the job she had in mind - working in a bar for transvestites. The house she shares with Joanna / Fat Joe is a dingy flat which is infested with cockroaches. Lizzie doesn't want to return to Solihull as she knows that everyone expects her to return within a matter of weeks.
Instead, Lizzie decides that she is going to stick it out and soon she finds herself engaged to a film director who also happens to be gay. The plot thickens when the guy's mother appears on the scene and announces that she is dying of cancer.
Considering my initial reservations about reading a girlie book, I have to admit that I really enjoyed reading this book, some parts even had me laughing out loud. I think the reason this book worked for me is because it is so spot on, and the situations that Lizzie manages to get herself into are so true to real life. I felt that I could see parts of myself in Lizzie Jordan and her thoughts and feelings are what every girl has felt after she has been dumped.
Although this book is mainly humorous, it also touches on more sensitive subjects, such as when Lizzie's roommate discovers she has breast cancer. It follows the feelings of both girls and the process that follows such a traumatic discovery.
Some of the situations that Lizzie finds herself in are a little farfetched but somehow Chris Manby makes them believable and I found it interesting to discover how Lizzie reacted to each situation she found herself in... she is certainly a character I felt I could relate to.
I would certainly recommend this book to any female. Personally, I do not normally read these types of books and refer to them as 'poolside trash' but I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Chris Manby portrays Lizzie as a lovable character who is just trying to find her way through life and make herself happy. This is a really enjoyable read from beginning to end.
Running Away from Richard is just on of those books where you are torn between feeling sorry for the poor female character who has been harshly dumped by her boyfriend, or thinking that she deserved it because it was already clearly a one-sided relationship!
I read this book on the off-chance, after being given it by a friend. The blurb did intrigue me, as a section states: "So how come, just one month later, Lizzie finds herself sharing a cockroach infested house in Venice Beach, working as a waitress in a notorious transvestite bar, and pretending to be the fiancee of one of the hottest directors in Hollywood - a man who just happens to be gay?"
I liked how the story begins with Lizzie Jordan's normal life, and develops fairly fast, giving an ending that is completely irrelevnt to the start. It is imperative that you keep up with the plot, as there are quite a few unexpected twists and turns thoughout.
Running Away from Richard has definitely stirred an interest in Chris Manby. The book is funny and witty, and the ending is a happy one, where everything seems to work out fine in the end.
Read this book if you want a light-hearted, down-to-earth story!
I really enjoy Chris Manby's books and the latest one I've read is 'Running Away from Richard' which is a sequel to 'Lizzie Jordan's Secret Life.' I did read 'Lizzie Jordan's Secret Life' not so long ago, but I don't think there is any need to read that one before this, if you don't want to, as this is a story in its own right, and apart from a few of the same characters, the stories don't really overlap.
A week before her best friends Mary and Bill get married, Lizzie Jordan gets dumped by her long term boyfriend, Richard. Richard was an artist and the announcement that he was leaving her for a glamour model who had posed for him has rocked Lizzie's world. While Lizzie just feels like curling up and dying, she is getting little sympathy from Mary, who is currently in full bride-zilla mode.
Once Lizzie has managed to get through Mary's wedding day (with the help of copious amounts of alcohol) she makes the decision that she is going to move to LA to seek work as an actress. This is a decision that shocks even Lizzie herself, but she did spend two years training as an actress, but hasn't actually had any work, so feels this could be a stepping stone. Also, secretly she feels that it will be a way of winning Richard back, as in this case time does not seem to be a healer.
So off she heads to LA, to live with her old flatmate Fat Joe, and his new flatmate Brandi, also an aspiring actress. When Lizzie arrives though, not only is LA very different to how she expected it to be, but so is Joe, who is now a woman! Will Lizzie ever achieve her dream of becoming an actress, and will Richard ever want her back?
~What I thought~
Like 'Lizzie Jordan's Secret Life' I found this novel quite hard to get into, and started reading it a few times and gave up before finally making my way through it. I must say though, once I did get into it I managed to read through it quite quickly.
I already knew the character of Lizzie from the previous book, and again I found that she still had a habit of feeling very sorry for herself most of the time. In this particular book, as she whined over Richard leaving her, I struggled to have sympathy for Lizzie, as I suppose I never really liked the character of Richard to begin with, and couldn't really understand why she was in love with him in the first place. Also, I felt that the whining went on for far too long, and there was too much of the self-pitying stuff, which became boring after a while.
The twist with Fat Joe was not one that I saw coming and was quite interesting and added a bit of light entertainment as we saw him struggle to embrace his new identity.
There were twists and turns in the novel, most of which happen quite far into the novel so I won't go into them too much, although I must admit, I saw a lot of them coming a mile off.
Although I think I've been quite negative throughout this review, on the whole, I must admit this wasn't all that bad, and is still quite a readable book, with some fairly entertaining parts to it - although most of these come in the latter half of the novel, so I feel I can't say too much without giving the plot away.
As a Chris Manby fan, I'm glad I've read this, but I don't think it was one of her best novels and my copy will be off to the charity shop now. If you're a big fan you will probably find this a reasonably good, light and girly read, but for everyone else, I wouldn't recommend running out to buy it.
Please god, I know I should be asking for something bigger and more important on a global scale like world peaceand an end to disease, famine and war, but all I want right now is for Richard Adams to want me back again. I know I can make him happy and he's the only one who can make me happy enough not to spoil my best friends day. Bring him back to me before tomorrow morning and I will never ask for anything again. I'll believe in you forever. I'll donate all my money to charity. My spare money,' I added quickly. 'I'll stop making jokes about the fish symbol on the back of a car meaning "I ignore the highway code" Lizzie Jordan has been dumped. The man of her dreams loves her no more and life for Lizzie has seased to exist. To make matters worse she has to be the maid of honour at the wedding of her best friend who unfortunately for Lizzie is madly in love and wants everything to be perfect. Imagine having to smile and look beautiful while inside your heart is breaking, well Lizzie finds it really hard and ends up getting drunk and passing out. Lizzie sees no way out and her choices are very limited, living with mum and dad in Solihull is definately not her idea of security and life seems to be closing in and shutting down. An offer of a place to stay in California and the chance to further her rather limited acting career convinces Lizzie that this is her only option, so off she flie's in search of bright lights and the big city, all in the desperate hope of winning Richard back and proving to him that she is the girl for him. Oh what dreams we weave for ourselves and how quickly we become ensnared in the tangled webs that are the reality of life. Lizzie arranges to stay with a friend that she knew from college who she knows and remembers as Fat Joe. She is met off the plane by Joanna, the new improved version of Joe, a more glamourous, more femine and very different version of the Joe she remembered. Is t
his the start of big things for Lizzie? Well within a month she is working in a bar for transvestities, living in the middle of downtown hoods ville and engaged to a gay guy, who's overbearing mother is dying of cancer. Quite different from the comfortable, carefree ' life in a pair of pyjama's' lifestyle she had lived with Richard. Ah there's that name again....Richard. The man of her dreams, the apple of her eye. Has Lizzie forgotten the life she once left? Has she broken the ties that were binding her to this man?............Not on your life. Running away from Richard has to be one of the funniest books I have ever read. Chris Manby really understands the thoughts and feelings of the average 'woman about town' and the witty lines and funny situations tickle the pages of this book in the most humerous of ways. Why is Lizzie so funny? The answer is that she is so normal. Lizzie Jordan is you or me. She thinks in the same often illogical way that most of us do if we are honest and honesty is a good way to describe the writers approach to her life and its situations. I loved the way that the author is able to take us through some really sensitive issues, a good example of this being the way that she talked about breast cancer, with Lizzie's room mate becoming ill. The realism is the thing that worked so well for me there were no tiara's or tantrums, no dream sequences resulting in the afflicted friend waking up and finding out it was a bad dream, but there was sensitivity, respect and a sprinkling of humour even at the lowest points in the story. The break up is a subject that is probebly familiar to many of us and I think that Lizzie voices a lot frustrations and anger that we would have all voiced had we the guts. Her observations are frank, honest and completely understandable given the circumstances. I could definately emphisise with the thoughts and feelings of Lizzie Jordan, definately
a woman after my own heart. Throughout the book there are funny situations and even funnier annalergies. ' I've had warmer welcomes ,' I had to concede. 'But that lady over there was smiling at me, ' I told him. 'Cousin Edna smiles at everybody,' Eric sighed. ' Since she found out about Prozac. ' Maybe the situations in this book are bizzare, but our heroine's reactions to each and every one of them are quite understandable and without doubt it was very easy for the wonderful Lizzie Jordan to find a place in my heart. The other characters in the book were as strong as they needed to be, the story centres around Lizzie, but the people she meets are well introduced and blend into the story with ease. The story was strong, well written and not at all predictable. Each twist and turn, each situation, each example of Lizzie 'Being in the wrong place at the wrong time' that happened came as a hilarious surprise. The book is about taking stock and letting go. It's about deciding what's really important in life and then setting out to get it. It's about realizing that we can't plan our lives in advance, sometimes we have to wait and see what life has in store for us. It's very rare in my opinion, to find a book that can be both sensitive and hilarious at the same time, usually one has to take a back seat to accomodate the other. In Lizzie Jordan, Chris Manby has been able to bring us the best of both worlds and I would dsefinately recommmend that you check this one out. Running away form Richard is actually a sequal to ' Lizzie Jordan's secret life ' Just like me to do everything back to front, I am in search of this one at the moment, but don't let the fact that this is a sequal put you off as at no time did I feel I needed to have read the first instalment to understand or relate to this one. This pa
perback book is available form WHSmith at a very reasonable £5.99. I got my copy from Asda for an even better £2.99 In my opinion, this book is a must for all of you out there who know what it is like to have a bad day. This is a really enjoyable read from beginning to end.
Just graduated from drama school, Lizzie Jordan is looking forward to a glittering career at the RSC. She's also looking forward to becoming Mrs Richard Adams (Lizzie just knows that her live-in artist boyfriend is about to propose any day now).