This was Isabel Wolff's debut novel published back in 1998. I was given this, along with her second novel, The Making of Minty Malone by my dad. I'd never read anything by this author before, so was not entirely sure what to expect, but from the cover and blurb on the back I knew it was chick-lit, so I was more than willing to give it a go.
The story starts with Tiffany Trott, a copywriter organising her 37th birthday party. It was originally going to be a party for 50, but she's had 44 cancellations - all from her married friends. Everyone has some sort of excuse - the children aren't well, they have to attend to their husbands, the nanny's walked out etc, etc... That leaves just six of them, the only of Tiffany's friends who are still single.
Tiffany, however, strictly speaking, is not single. She's not married, but she is seeing someone, Alex, and she feels he's going to propose any day now. Although unfortunately, marriage is not what's on Alex's mind, and he dumps her. On her birthday.
So now Tiffany is 37 years old and still alone. She's desperate to find a husband of her own, and starts on a quest to find 'The One' immediately. From everything from personal ads in the newspaper, dating agencies and singles holidays, Tiffany tries all ways possible to find herself a man. Trouble is, everyone she meets has some huge flaw - like the one who turns out to be married and is only looking for a mistress, the depressed divorcee TV presenter who tries to use Tiffany for money and the guy who seems nice but then turns out to be 17-timing her! Will Tiffany ever find the man for her? And is it really that important anyway?
~What I thought~
Well I'm not quite 37, but I definitely found myself identifying with this book. I personally don't feel the same level of desperation to have a husband that Tiffany does, but when all your mates start getting married and having kids, there is definitely the worry that you're going to be the one left on the shelf. You do start questioning yourself in the way Tiffany does, wondering what the hell is so bad about you, and why you keep attracting loser after loser. In that respect, the book is very well observed and from a single girls point of view, it seems to hit the nail on the head.
My main criticism of the book, I suppose would be that it's a little long. It runs to 391 pages, which although perhaps not that many, seemed a lot to get through at the time. I think the main reason for this would be that a lot of the story seemed a little repetitive and I feel it could have been cut down a lot and still been just as good.
As mentioned this was written in 1998 and although only just over 10 years ago, it has already started to feel a little dated, I suppose the main thing missing would be internet dating, which is a main way of finding someone these days, and it's absence was quite notable.
Overall I enjoyed this book - it wasn't the best chick-lit offering I have ever read, personally I like a love story and this was more a story of the search for love. Even so, I think it was still worthy of four stars, and I look forward to reading the next one.