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When my birthday rolled round, I only wanted this book for one reason, so I could finally have all of Melissa Nathan's books. Not only has it shot up into my top 5 favourite books, it may have even taken over an old Nathan favourite of mine, one that's held it's place for a long time!!!
~~About the author and book~~
Melissa Nathan has written 5 books, her previous one, the nanny, got to the top ten best seller lists. After she published this book n 2004, she went on to finish the learning curve, published posthumously in 2006 after her death in April of that year.
~~ The Story~~
After meeting the guy of her dreams at a party, Katie Simmonds knows her life is about to get better. She will become an educational psychologist, despite her old ambitions failing. Like when she wanted to be a teacher the week before, and a film director the week before that. Until then, she'll have to make do being a waitress. But when the date with dream guy goes wrong, and she has once again failed at her latest ambition. And with a rather large amount of money at stake on whether she can makes her mind up or not, Katie's life is not looking up. And then the cafe is taken over, and things seem to just get worse...
Once again, Nathan shows her ease with creating funny, emphatic and believable characters. She also performs the trick every good chick lit writer needs, creating that bitch that keeps everyone reading. (Revealing herself by page 2.) Though there is not as many sub plots in this story, there is just as much character building. The story falls into place, and, despite being a bit predictable as to who ends up with who (what chick lit isn't?) it does make it an enjoyable thing, and uses other plot twists to keep you occupied. Also, the ending to this book gave me a big grin I haven't had with a lot of books in a long time/
I love every single character in this book, and the plight they are all dropped in. They are never over the top, they're funny and light hearted but still have a deep personality to them, whether it's when their happy go lucky facade snaps, or when their manipulation catches up on you, the way they react and act is so close to real life.
For only £5.49 from amazon, this book offers a perfect light hearted read, and at 510 pages, it will probably keep you going for a while too! I'd recommend this book to anyone, it's got everything you need, and I can easily say, it is one of Melissa Nathan's best works, and will remain in my favourites for a long time.
'The Waitress' is written by Melissa Nathan who sadly passed away in 2006 after suffering breast cancer. I was given this book by someone who was having a clear-out and I am never one to turn away a free book so I happily took it away for reading!
Even from the cover of the book, you know that you are in for some 'chick-lit' reading, which is okay with me as I don't mind a little light chick lit every now and again. The back cover tells us that the book is about waitress Katie Simmonds who in her mid-twenties, cannot quite decide what she wants to be in life. But whilst she is deciding, she works as a waitress in a London café. I always look for comments on books by newspapers, magazines etc when reading back covers and whilst there weren't any short snappy comments about 'The Waitress' there was praise regarding another one of Melissa Nathan's books, 'The Nanny'. As 'The Nanny' sounded like it had been popular I was looking forward to giving 'The Waitress' a try because as an author, Melissa Nathan had obviously been liked.
Unfortunately it took me quite a while to get into this story. It's quite a meaty book at just over 500 pages long, and I didn't really have much interest in the plot or the characters until over half-way in. The main character (Katie) I actually found irritating and a bit unreal. I felt that perhaps she was meant to provide some humour but I didn't find her bashful behaviour funny and instead found myself being annoyed by her personality.
There are a number of other characters in 'The Waitress' who are all supporting characters - there is Katie's flatmate Jon who is an aspiring author, her friend Sukie who also works in the café and is trying to make it as an actress. A number of other characters are in the book who all have their own little parts to play. Whilst it is fair enough to have subplots for some of the more significant supporting characters, such as a flatmate and close friend, it is unnecessary for some of the very minor characters such as a 16 year old boy (named Matt, who also works summers in the café) to have their own complete storylines - with half a chapter every now and again dedicated to them! And Matt wasn't the only one - there were other incredibly insignificant (in my opinion) characters that there was just too much information about and it is these parts of the book that I found incredibly pointless and added to my general annoyance and boredom with the book.
To the book's credit however, it did get better. Like I said, about half-way through, things started to get a little more interesting. With the main character, Katie Simmonds, finally deciding what she wanted to do with her life, the story seemed to be going somewhere and I found myself wanting to know where. There even seemed to be a point to attributes of her character that I didn't like very much and it was nice to see that the author had connected her personality with aspects of why her life was the way it was rather than just having a really annoying main character for the sake of it.
Because I didn't enjoy reading this book very much I found it to be way too long. I think that perhaps this would have been a much more enjoyable read if certain bits had been left out - for example less on some of the supporting characters in this book would have made it significantly shorter and thus a better read.
As this is the first novel I have read by Melissa Nathan I have to say I am not particularly excited to read her other books, although I have heard that some of her other work such as 'The Nanny' is better. I guess if another one of her books was given to me for free I might give it a go.
You can buy 'The Waitress' from Amazon for £5.46 (new) or £0.01 (used + p&p).
Thanks for reading.
Once again wanting some books for holiday reading I selected a book from my daughter's collection called "The Waitress" as it was a largish paperback and the back page sounded OK to me.
The author, Melissa Nathan I will mention at the end of this review, so people can choose to read that section if they wish.
IBSN 0-09-942798-2 for those who are searching for the book on websites and originally it cost £5.99 but can be bought at lower prices.
On the back I discovered that Katie Simmonds wants to be an educational psychologist. But the previous week she wanted to be a teacher, and the week before that a film director! Unfortunately she is employed as a waitress and she does not want to be a waitress! Life isn't as she planned, she has an awful boss, customers hassle her, she is badly paid (aren't all waitresses?) and finding a career is something she has difficulty with, but then she has other problems too. Would this make people put the book back and think who wants to read all about her problems when they have enough of their own! Well no, I was interested to see how any author could make this book worth reading, as "The Nanny" written by the same author was a Best Seller.
The story starts at an engagement party for her friend Sandy in London, a party that has lasting memories for Katie. There are others we meet here who play important parts in the story Geraldine, a friend, Hugh and ex who Katie lived with for a while, Sukie an aspiring actress who waits on with Katie at the café, Jon who Katie shares a flat with and who wants to be an author and Dan who is Geraldine's ex, who is a rich city slicker and rather good looking!
Work as a waitress is not a happy affair, and Katie is rude to many of the customers as she copes with the morning rush of people on their way to the Tube. She often returns home to her parents at weekends and the problems she has navigating are amusing especially as I am a hopeless map reader! Her mother and father want her to settle down and find a decent job, as a Great Aunt has promised money for her when she decides what she wants to do and her parents want her to find a husband too! Unfortunately dates and Katie don't go well.
We spend a lot of time in the café and get to know the others who work with Katie. As with most young people there are parties, hangovers, love and romance and of course we have to the wedding of her friend Sandy.
510 pages of fun and laughter, tears and sadness, with twists and turns. Will Katie become a psychologist? Will she find love? Will Sandy get married? Will Sukie become an actress? You'll have to read the book to find out as if I tell you more it will spoil the story!
I found it easy to read and it made me laugh at times. Something to read on holiday when you are relaxing and not concentrating on a complicated storyline. Typical chick lit book.
I admit I hadn't heard of Melissa Nathan, but have since found out that sadly she died before reaching her 40th birthday from Breast cancer and there is now a foundation in her name called The Melissa Nathan Foundation: Supporting families in crisis. I hope you don't mind me adding this information as I was quite moved by it.
Quote "Very generous donations throughout the year enabled us to give £8000 to Honeypot. Honeypot provide support and respite for children from the age of 5 who are full-time carers for their sick or disabled parents. Thank you for all your donations - your money will make a huge difference to a lot of children.
If you'd like to donate to the Melissa Nathan Foundation, please go to www.Justgiving.com/melissanathanfoundation
The Melissa Nathan Foundation was founded to provide financial support for families that are in crisis. Melissa would frequently do this herself without ever telling any one about it. The stories of her kindness and generosity in helping families in their moments of need have only emerged since she died.
I have an obsession with buying books but, because of how little time I seem to have to spend actually reading I now have a whole bookcase that over half the books on its shelves haven't been read yet. It was only when my friend looked at the books a week or so back and mentioned that I had two books by Melissa Nathan that she hadn't read and I would probably enjoy them as she had enjoyed her others. Seeing as generally we do have the same taste in books and thinking over the Christmas period would be an ideal time to try and get through some of the books on my shelves I decided to start with these two. The one I read first was titled 'The Waitress'.
Melissa Nathan was born in 1968 and raised in Hertfordshire. She was actually quite a keen actress but, instead turned down the chance to attend drama school and instead studied journalism. She worked as a writer, sub editor and commissioning editor for women's magazines whilst working on writing her own novel. She ended up writing a total of 5 books but, unfortunately Melissa died from Cancer in April 2006.
Released in 2004, 'The Waitress' follows main character Katie. Unsure what to do with her life even though she has a degree from Oxford along with a sharp wit and quick tongue, Katie constantly feels she is never going to work out what she wants to do when she 'grows up'. Working in a cafe with one of her best friends Sukie and living with her other friend Jon, she has different ideas for careers every month. Her mother is keen for her to work out what she wants to do especially as her mad Aunt is willing to leave a huge sum of money to her in her will but, only on the condition that she gets herself a career and not just any career but, something she will be able to enjoy.
Getting more and more unsure and also unlucky in love too with two men around to confuse her even more, will Katie ever really be able to work out what she wants from life and before its all too late?
I really enjoy a book where you can truly feel for the characters from early on - I hate it when you can't feel any connection to them at all or it takes too long to get into the book. I am pleased to say I didn't find this at all with this book. I found the lead character Katie to be amusing and found myself getting frustrated for her as the book went along. It was quite a typical chick book in terms of the love story side of things and I found myself wondering how things were actually going to end because of the way the author did the plot. However in terms of the career sides of things this was a great topic to have as it meant the main focus was a little different. I also felt I connected with her in some way as I felt I could understand how she felt about different jobs and being confused.
What I really liked was the book had bits that were dedicated to other characters in more details so even though you were hearing the story from Katie's side, you could understand what was going on elsewhere and this made the book more interesting as I almost wanted to shout at the characters to do something like I would if watching a good film where you know what needs to happen but the people involved keep missing out or turning up too late! In particular, one of Katie's love interests has plenty of moments where what he is thinking would mean a situation could be resolved but, instead he keeps his thoughts to himself because he is too embarrassed and I wanted to jump in and say something - a good sign that I am well and truly enjoying the book when I start to see them as real characters!
Overall I think the author did really well with the characters and managed to make them very real and interesting. I like it when you cannot wait to get back to a book because you want to know what happens to them and I always believe this is a great sign the author has created characters that are appealing enough to get the reader involved.
I am sure you can guess but, I really enjoyed this book and actually can't believe I had it sat on my shelf for so long! I have already read one of her others and will review this separately but, I think it is safe to say that I will be buying the other 3 at some point too! I honestly cannot remember where I bought this book from as it has been sat on my bookcase for an awful long time but, you can purchase this book from many high street stores and the internet from as little as £1 and of course there is always the library for those who prefer this option!
Melissa Nathan has written five novels, and this is her 4th. She was raised on Hertfordshire and now lives in London with her husband. She has also written 'The Nanny', 'Persuading Annie', 'Pride Prejudice and Jasmine Field', and her fifth is released later this year. The Waitress was published in 2005.
Katie is a sassy and sarcastic waitress working in a café on the outskirts of London. Despite having graduated from Oxford, she doesn't have a clue what to do with her life. Her Great-aunt plans to leave her a huge inheritance to invest, but will not let her have the money until she finds her vocation.
Katie meets a guy at a party, Dan and goes on a date with him in the early chapters, but halfway through the date, panics and leaves him in the restaurant. Suddenly her café is taken over by new owners- one of whom happens to be none other than Dan. Cue much sexual tension and many awkward moments. She is made the manager, causing a huge rift with her colleague and best friend Sukie, a struggling actress, and flatmate Jon, a struggling writer.
So, with all these obstacles will Katie ever figure out what she wants to do, make it up with her friends, and grow up just a little bit? Will she and Dan get together or will a whole string of twists of fate interfere, mainly manifesting themselves in the shape of bumbling exes, causing them never to reunite?
This book is chick lit at its finest. The heroine, Katie is human enough to be likeable, and sarcastic enough- hysterically so to her customers and colleagues to be loveable. I think many readers will find themselves empathizing with her career situation, not wanting to pick the wrong path, but being too scared to take the plunge.
There are a few clichés in the book- the struggling artiste friends, the pressure from family to settle down, and the ex who is hindering, rather than helping your romantic status from progressing- but the whole story is an riginal one. In my opinion, this is what makes the book more readable. These are the things that many young people have to deal with, and so the stereotypes are fully necessary. And reading a book about a young single female trying to find her vocation is far more preferable than the usual farmhouse divorcee baloney- to moi anyway.
The book is 500-odd pages long, but it was an easy read, only taking me a couple of days. It's light reading and I love it, so you can stick your Dan Brown and Jodi Picoult for now, I am staying firmly in my place in the school of chick lit! I know I'll be looking at Melissa Nathan's next book, the Learning Ciurve released later this year.
***Details and Availability***
Published by HarperCollins, the book is 510 pages long, available from amazon.co.uk at £5.99in paperback, and from marketplace sellers new at 47p and used at 1p-it's a bargain! I got mine from the local library in hardback- which is £18.99.
Take this book on holiday and youll come home bursting with exciting plans to shake up your life.