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Single in the City - Michele Gorman

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7 Reviews

Genre: Fiction / Author: Michele Gorman / Paperback / 352 Pages / Book is published 2010-06-24 by Penguin

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    7 Reviews
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      12.09.2012 10:15
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      Good light hearted read

      This is a review of the 2010 book 'Single in the City' by Michele Gorman which seems to have been on my book shelf for ages but can't have been really. I've no idea where it came from and it's in great condition so that one will remain a mystery for now.

      Who?
      The book begins with a nice paragraph explaining the author's background and it actually emulates the theme of the story, American girl settles in London after moving there on a whim. This book is the first by the author but in March this year she released a sequel on Kindle to the novel titled 'Misfortune Cookie' and the printed version was released in July this year. The final part to the trilogy is due December this year so it may become cult reading this year!

      About
      The book follows Hannah who relocates to London on a whim from her home in Connecticut, USA. She is single and up for a good time and quickly finds her feet in England's capital getting a job and a place to live with a bunch of friendly Australians. Hannah is conscious of her background and quickly learns to tone down her accent and pronounce 'tomatoes' properly! Her language barrier forms many pages of amusement as she conquers the difference between pants and knickers and confesses that she prefers 'tights' to the embarrassingly titled panty hose. In her quest for love, she speed dates, has one night stands and relationships that are going nowhere and finds herself disgusted when she realises she has been dating a married man unknowingly. She pulls together a 'London council' of girls to replace her friends back home and they try to tell her where she's going wrong in her love trysts.

      My thoughts
      I loved the main character Hannah. She was ditsy enough to be funny but not tryingly so. Her mistakes are many and she is quite career minded despite her boss's attempts to sack her. Surviving in London on your own cannot be easy for a young single girl yet she manages it without many homesick thoughts and with the help of a few glasses of wine.

      Characters
      I thought her friend from home Stacy sounds a bit OTT and is jealous of Hanna's adventure but whilst she came across as a bit annoying, most of the conversations were on the phone so I don't want to be too harsh and it looks like Stacy will be featuring a lot more in book two of the series. I loved how as a lonely newcomer, Hannah jumps on the friendship of Chloe, a recruitment specialist when she meets her whilst looking for a job. Chloe seems surprised yet flattered by Hannah's desperation for them to be friends and it actually blossoms into something nice. Hannah's colleagues at the events agency (where she ends up working) are a bit suspicious about her and how she got the role (did she sleep with the boss by any chance?!) and her line manager absolutely hates her but Hannah doesn't let this get to her and is determined to prove her worth. She does make a good friend at work Siobhan who helps her to settle in and is a keen partner in crime when out hunting for men. Speaking of men, there are a fair few in this book! A few exes are mentioned and then there are the numerous ones that Hannah manages to date and or bed over the coming weeks. She has a soft spot for her colleague Sam but he is spoken for so she looks elsewhere and tries her best to make the most of the Jewish lovely lad, the posh would be aristocrat and the business man she meets early on.

      Final word
      I did enjoy reading this book and felt it left a lot of potential for the other books to continue with. I only had one niggle and that was the American / English explanations at the bottom of a lot of pages. It contained a few explanations that were handy like the one which explained the difference between the American schooling system and then there was a bit of speculation too which at times was funny and at other times distracting from the main story line. I had a few laugh out loud moments with this book and due to this I will probably pick up book number two at some point. I can recommend this book as a light hearted read that may suit the beach or pool side as it is not too taxing to read.

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        25.06.2011 21:45
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        A book by Michele Gorman

        Never one to see a book go to waste, I couldn't resist buying this book from my friend. After all she was just selling it for £1 and it would have been rude not to! I had never read anything by this author before but, I had spotted it on the shelves of Tesco and ASDA when it first came out and had wanted to buy it but, just never got around to it and I liked the blurb on the back as well as the title also catching my eye, so after finishing Lindsey Kelk's latest book, I made a start on this one.

        The author:
        Michelle Gorman is an American author who now lives in England. She passed the citizenship test with flying colours so is now also officially a citizen of the UK. She has written just this one book so far but, will hopefully have a sequel to this at some point.


        The plot:
        Packing her bags and jumping on a flight over to London to start a new exciting life seemed a good idea when she'd had a drink. Now actually over here in London Hannah is trying to keep up with the English way of speaking and it is proving to be more difficult than she thought. She also needs a job as her money is running out. Somewhere to live would be ideal too and before long, Hannah is shacked up with some Australians, has a party planning assistant's job and has even had a small fling! However, is she kidding herself that she can make a go of this? She already misses her friend Stacy back home and her boss doesn't seem to want to make things easy for her. Should she just give up and go home before it's too late?

        Characters:
        Hannah as a character is quite amusing and I think this is more so because of the predicaments she gets herself into and the fact that her nationality means her understanding of some English ways of saying things get confused with the American way - even ordering a sandwich gets a tad difficult for her! I like that the author has made this part of her character rather than just make the fact that she has come over from the USA and she could have not written about this element at all when, in actual fact, it is quite a big part of how she has to adjust to living in London.
        As Hannah has no friends in the UK, we get introduced to people she meets along the way, including Chloe who becomes her close friend and her boss Felicity. Both of these characters are written in as extremely different people and I felt that they really worked well in the story. Hannah's best friend from home, Stacy, is used throughout the story and she features fairly heavily too and I think this was clever on the authors part to include her as she of course is part of the main characters life and without anybody the main person knew at all the book probably would have been unrealistic.


        Price:
        I of course paid the small sum of £1 for this book which was quite a deal indeed as the book was still like new (it had to have been, otherwise, I wouldn't even have considered suitable to join my other books on my shelves!) and it was one I had seen when it had been on sale but, never bought and so when my friend started selling a load of books to make some money, it was the perfect opportunity to pick it up cheaply. If you are buying the book online or in shops, you may find it around the £3-£4 mark.

        Overall opinion:
        I did enjoy this book as it was quite amusing in parts the way the character got confused by language we used and the simple things such as our accent, causes some confusion to begin with too and it was amusing to read about it from a different perspective! However, as much as I enjoyed this element of the book and the fact that the story was actually quite good there were a couple of flaws in the book. The first was that the author felt the need to put in small numbers next to some words or phrases used and then at the bottom of the page, give a description of what the American term meant so that anyone not familiar with the American expression or word would know what it meant. Also sometimes she would put a little comment as well to say how either confusing it was or why the American or English way was better. In one sense I thought these were quite interesting although, for most I didn't really need the translation. On the other hand, after a while it got annoying that these little bits were taking up book space and also meant I was stopping reading the actual story to read these and therefore, distracting me from the main part!
        The second flaw was that initially, when we start reading, it is not extremely clear what is going on, or how the main character got to be in London in the first place or really why! It made it seem like the story had started sort of half way without the reader knowing the initial beginning but, as the story moved long, it was less of a problem so it still didn't stop me from enjoying the book; it just would have been nice to have a little bit more understanding at the beginning.
        Overall I did enjoy the book and the story moved along at a nice pace and if the author had anything else already out, I would probably go out and buy it. As it is, I believe she is writing a sequel to this book now although this of course could be hearsay! If she is, then when it is released I will probably more than likely be buying it! I think it was well worth the £1 I paid for it.

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          14.01.2011 11:23
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          A great chick-lit read

          With these cold, dark winter nights, I have been doing A LOT of reading! I love reading, and during December, I have seemed to be getting through a book every couple of days! Today, I will be reviewing one of my latest reads.

          Single In The City is a chick-lit book by an American author called Michele Gorman. The book was released in the United Kingdom in the Summer of 2010 and so is quite recent. Copies of this book are currently available to buy from Amazon for a price of just £3.87 which I think is great value for money.

          In this book: American Hannah has a dream; to move to London. But that means leaving all of her friends and family behind. She is so excited about the movie, that she happens to be totally unprepared for what's in store for her. Will she get her dream job in fashion? Will she meet her dream guy? Read Single In The City to find out!

          I really enjoyed this book as it was such a light-hearted and girlie read! This book is quite exciting; there seems to be loads going on in this story and it all happens at a fast pace. I don't normally like books which move to fast (as sometimes they're hard to keep up with), and I don't like books which move too slowly as they are too boring, however the 'speed of this book' was perfect; at the right speed!

          I loved Hannah! She came across as so much fun and I could totally relate to. I think that was one of the main reasons why I enjoyed this book, as I found I could connect with the character, and felt as though she was one of my friends. She also came across as quite real, and not that over-the-top like a lot of characters do in normal chick-lit books.

          One thing which I found really interesting about this book was the fact that the book was written by an American author, and so I found it interesting to see how an American character saw London and England from an American's point of view. It kind of makes you proud to be British.

          Like a lot of other chick-lit books, I was expecting this book to be a bit predictable, and thought that I had the plot 'all worked out'. So imagine my suprise when my prediction turned out to be completely wrong! It really is a great read!

          This book is a real page turnerl; I could not put it down, it's that addictive! I would definately recommend this book as a beach/holiday read!

          Thanks for reading!
          January 14th 2010
          xdonzx (also posted on dooyoo under xd-o-n-z-x)

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            16.10.2010 00:03
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            Really enjoyed this!

            After losing her job, Hannah decides its time for a big life change. She books herself a one-way ticket from Connecticut to London on something of a whim with nowhere to live, no work lined up and a pretty sparse bank account given the cost of the airfare. Those aren't her only problems though, as Hannah is struggling to get her head around the differences between the US and the UK, both culturally and linguistically. Just as she starts to wonder whether she's dived too far into the deep end, she meets Mark and things start to look up. Will life in the UK turn out alright after all?

            I really liked Hannah from the opening page. While her impulse decision to move countries isn't something I could ever see myself doing, I found myself warming to her and was amused at the situations she found herself in as a result of not understanding things or just getting them plain wrong. There was something very likeable and normal about her character, which is essential for me in a book like this where the main character is the bulk of the action and if you don't like her, you'd be put off straight away.

            There isn't a huge amount of plot to speak of as the book is basically following Hannah (from her perspective) as she negotiates her new everyday life in London but it's still rather engaging and I put that down to Hannah herself being a character that I really engaged with. It's written in the first person, which makes it instantly easy to get to know Hannah from the off as it's her voice that we're hearing (well, reading).

            All in all, I really liked this book. There's nothing heavy about it and it's a nice, light read. Sure, there's nothing groundbreaking about it but it fits solidly into the chick lit category, which is what I tend to veer towards if I'm entirely honest about my reading choices. After reading this, I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for any other books by the same author as I'd love to read more from her in the future if it's the same easy writing style as this.

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              27.09.2010 15:12
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              An accurate and interesting take on the differences between two great nations

              In a rather spontaneous decision to follow her dreams Right This Second, Hannah has left Connecticut behind and moved to London. She doesn't have a flat, she doesn't have a job, and she doesn't have any friends, but she has more important things to worry about on arrival. Like how to deal with potential lovers who are too posh to wash and how to get the guy in the sandwich shop to understand her order. As she navigates her way through the highlights and pitfalls of life on this side of the pond she chronicles all the little intricacies that we would never consider twice.

              This book had the potential to be awful. I've read other books about Yanks' views on the British way of life, ranging from slightly amusing to just downright wrong interpretations, and I feared this might be another one of those, mediocre at best. Happily, I could not have been more wrong. This is a funny, insightful, highly entertaining read that will resonate with British readers as well as their American cousins.

              The story is a good one, if a little too good to be true at times: within chapters Hannah has a fab, affordable apartment, and the sort of job I'd love the chance to do, not to mention a row of suitors lining up at her door. As the pages fly by the characters on both sides of the Atlantic come to life, and you get swept away with Hannah's new life. The ending wasn't to my liking, but it only warrants the docking of half a star as the rest of the book is so stellar.

              Throughout the book, the author includes little footnotes to explain certain brands or cultural references. Most of these are translations of American institutions for the British audience (Betty Crocker and Chuck E Cheese are two, though given the proliferation of the former in our supermarkets these days, it was hardly needed) while a few seem to be the other way round - she explains the concept of Costa Coffee to the USA contingent. I liked these footnotes, not because I really needed them (time spent living Stateside and a fondness for American media sorted that out) but because she adds her own wry take on them. I might know who or what Lilly Pulitzer is, but I still like hearing that it's "America's ode to the belief that wallpaper can be fashionable when worn as a dress".

              I flew through this book. It was full of humour and life, and definitely had the feel good factor. Much better than I was expecting it to be, I would highly recommend it.


              This review first appeared on www.thebookbag.co.uk

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                19.08.2010 15:50
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                A very enjoyable first novel

                Single in the City is Michelle Gorman's first novel and it really is a good one! From the moment I picked it up, I did not want to put it down and just wanted to read more about the exploits of Hannah Cumming, the twenty six year old American heroine in the story.

                At the start, Hannah is newly arrived in London having decided to leave her less than glamorous life in Connecticut behind and to start out afresh. She is searching for a dream job, dream friends and most of all a dream man. Unfortunately none of these come that easily and Hannah discovers that she does not like being alone in the big city especially with the somewhat surprising language and cultural differences that she starts to experience. She tends to court disaster wherever she goes, ending up in all sorts of seedy places and meeting men who are either married or smell. She does eventually find a potentially glamorous job as a party planner (although her boss seems to hate her) and she starts sharing a flat with some laid back Aussies in Earl's Court. Things are starting to look up for Hannah's social life but what about finding her dream man? He seems to be a bit more elusive although there's always Sam in the office. The only problem is that he is also American and she did not trek all the way across the Atlantic to end up with someone that she could have met at home! Does that matter though if Sam really is the one for her?

                Single in the City is the sort of book that holds your interest throughout. It has an amusing storyline with an extremely likeable main character. The style is very relaxed and almost conversational as it is written in the first person with Hannah telling her own story. This gives the reader access to Hannah's thoughts and feelings which makes it extremely easy to get to know her character. It is also quite possible to identify with Hannah during all the highs and the lows that she experiences through her new life.

                Michelle Gorman is an American who now lives in London so she obviously knows what it is like to live in a big city in a foreign country. I found some of her observations about the different in language or expectations and the misunderstandings that they could lead to highly entertaining. It makes you think about all the differences that there are between the two countries even though on the surface they might seem very similar. It provided a very interesting slant to the story.

                There are a number of footnotes included throughout which are used to explain any American references that the British reader might not understand. To be honest, many of these were unnecessary and actually a bit annoying as it is not that difficult to work out what these things are. I decided to start ignoring the footnotes after a while and I probably enjoyed the book even more by doing this as I was not continually interrupting my reading flow by looking at the footnotes. However, that is my only criticism of what is otherwise a thoroughly enjoyable novel.

                Single in The City is light and it's fun. It won't take that long to read but it will probably leave you wanting to read more. Perhaps Michelle Gorman might be tempted to write a sequel!

                Single in the City is available in paperback form for £4.89 on Amazon (August 2010).

                This review will also be appearing under my name at www.curiousbookfans.co.uk

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                  14.07.2010 11:23
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                  A very good debut novel

                  Hannah Cumming has moved over to the UK on a bit of a whim. She's an American who recently lost her job, and so decided to do something completely new and exciting... move to another country. However, when she gets here, Hannah realises that perhaps she's made a bit of a mistake because she hasn't really got a clue about anything. She's got no job, no place to live, and doesn't seem to understand half the things the British people around her are saying. Hannah's determined to make it work, and when she meets the lovely Mark, it looks like things might be on the up for her. But when the going gets tough, is Hannah going to get going again?

                  This is author Michele Gorman's debut novel, and it has to be said it's a pretty good one. Michele actually made the move over from America to the UK herself so I did wonder exactly how much of the book is autobiographical when I was reading it, but either way it is a great idea for a book and leant itself to a lot of comedic moments. The book was originally titled 'The Ex-Pat Diaries' but I think Single In The City suits it far better, and the cute little cartoon cover to go with it makes it pure chick-lit. It's certainly a book I would pick up off the shelf in a shop, and I think it'll definitely be popular with fans of the genre.

                  We join the book when Hannah has just arrived in the UK, and I immediately liked her character. She's quite a funny girl, and you can sense her confusion about her new country straight away. The funniest thing definitely has to be the language barrier between the American girl and her new British friends. Hannah has no idea at the double meaning of words over here, and also words she's never heard of so tends to get herself into a bit of a pickle. In case you don't understand why Hannah doesn't understand certain words or terms, Michele has created a footnote at the bottom of the relevant pages telling us a bit about the difference in UK/US interpretations.. this is a good idea because it helps you to understand the humour a bit more, but I have to say it did annoy me after a while!

                  I was worried that this book was just going to be a love story - girls meets boy, they fall in love, marry and live in the UK happily ever after. However, Michele Gorman cleverly steers the book away from a predictable storyline with the introduction of some other great characters that bring a lot to the book. I loved the character of Stacy, Hannah's best friend in the US and the phone conversations between the two of them were very amusing in parts! Things aren't straight forward for Hannah by any means, but she does seem to fall on her feet with certain things a bit, but I guess this is fiction at the end of the day so we can't expect it all to be completely believable! It's Hannah's relationships with the other characters that really brought the book to life for me, and I enjoyed seeing how these developed throughout the book.

                  It's funny to read how highly people of London who aren't from the UK. Whenever I visit, I always appreciate the fantastic atmosphere and beautiful architecture, but it seems that to Americans, and probably other countries too, London is a special place, full of the latest fashion, the best people and is simply the place to be. Gorman uses Hannah well to portray the city of London to her reader, allowing us a different view of the city to what us UK natives would usually hold, and it's quite refreshing. Hannah clearly loves the city, and this really comes across in Gorman's writing, leading me to think she herself is quite fond of London too!

                  This book is a nice light-hearted summer read, and one I'd definitely recommend. I really enjoyed the writing style and found it very easy to get into, I am sure Gorman will do very well if her future books are written as well as this. There aren't too many characters to play with, yet enough to keep our interest and pull good storylines out of. The main character Hannah is the perfect heroine for the book, and I loved seeing London through her eyes, it was a really fun journey and I really did care about her by the end. It's a fun story that shows the life of an American crossing the pond, and one I'm sure will do very well throughout the summer. Recommended!

                  ISBN: 978-0141048260. Published by Penguin in June 2010. Pages: 352. RRP: £6.99

                  Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitreviews.com

                  Thank you for reading.

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