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Claire Cooper has a good life, she is in her thirties and has a good job working as a lawyer and a very devoted boyfriend. She thinks she is happy until her boyfriend Mark springs the surprise of a new house for them to live together in on her. She thinks about her life and when she was a teenager and remembers a list she wrote with her best friend when they were 15 and she goes and finds it.
Clare Skidmore as a teenager was obsessed with footballer Andy and dreamed of marrying him and spending their lives together in a cottage and being blissfully happy but she never got that chance as she was so young. She and best friend Frankie made a list of where they saw their lives when they were 25 but they could not have been more wrong.
Finding the list has made Claire evaluate her life and think about her past and love for footballer Andy but what will this mean for her current life and just how far did her obsession go? Will life for Claire and Mark ever be the same again?
The plot which I have given for this book is only very brief and I felt that giving any more away would spoil it for those who may not have read the book yet. Some may find the way I went back to Claire being a teenager again a bit weird but the book is actually set in two different times, one where Claire goes back to being a teenager and the present life which she now has. It may sound slightly complicated but the book is very easy to follow and thoroughly enjoyable the way the two times mix and are so different. We do have a smaller section of the book which is set in the past where Claire writes and talks about how she imagines her lie with Andy to be but these are only in a few places in the book so I cant really say it is split into 3 sections.
The story was very good and I felt instantly able to warm and get to know Claire. We got to learn about her present life and how she got their. The life we get to know about from when she was a teenager was so different and yet still very enjoyable to read. She was a normal obsessed teenager and I found her obsession did not come across as strange or over the top but a normal one which many teenage girls have over footballers or singers but hers just got slightly out of hand, though through no fault of her own! In the present Claire seemed very level headed but she did at times let this slip as she remembered her past and I felt able to understand why she did this as I got to know more about her past and found the way the stories blended with the time frames easy to follow.
I did find all of the characters very good, not just the main ones of Claire, footballer Andy and boyfriend Mark but also the old best friend Frankie and her mother. We did get to know a lot about these characters and I enjoyed getting to know them and how they impacted Claries life. I did at times have a hatred for Andy but at the same time I could see why he did what he did and started to feel sorry for him but overall I felt he was a big headed and not a nice man. The storylines which these character were given were good and blended well with the main story. I felt they also gave the book some depth which was needed, they did not take anything away from the main storyline they did in fact help it.
The writing style was good and I found that at times I was not able to put the book down, the ending for me was super and not how I imagined it would end and for me this was god as it kept making me want to read on to find out what was coming next.
The book has a good mix of humour and seriousness especially towards the second half of the book and I found the mix worked well together. There were a few good twists in the story as well which helped keep me engrossed. I would say that this is not a heavy read and would be very suitable for a holiday for a light bedtime book.
The book was written by Linda Green and published by Headline. The retail price on the paperback edition is £6.99 but this can be currently bought in a buy on get on free offer in Tesco and I think even without this offer the book is worth the price tag. There are a total of 472 pages in this book and as I found it so entertaining it only took me 3 days to get through.
I have to give this book a good solid 4 stars as it has a good storyline, great easy to get to know characters and a good few twists. I would have liked to have given it the full 5 stars but for me there seemed to be just a little missing in the shape of more detail about the past. Still this is a great read and I look forward to reading more from Linda Green.
The book I will now review is - "Things I wish I had known (back when I thought I knew it all..) by
Claire is a thirty something woman, who feels as if her life is somewhat floundering, though to state why she couldn't possibly say.
She is in a job she enjoy's, and is dating a man she really likes, but for each thing she cannot claim to love either....well, not for sure anyway!
After her boyfriend and fellow laywer Mark does the unbelievable, by asking her to sell her flat and go in for a new house with him, she feels like she is being trapped into a situation she will be hard pushed to escape from, though she can't expain exactly why.
She manages to placate Mark enough by agreeing to move in together by stating they must first sell their flats, buying her a little time.
After a rummage one day through her attic space, she comes across a letter she wrote to herself twenty years previously, and is shocked and dismayed at what her fifeteen year old self imagined she would be doing and who she would be doing!
After analysing the letter repeatedly she finds herself yearning after things from her past, things that couldn't possibly be available to her anymore.....or would they?
This is a really good book, that once established I thoroughly enjoyed, though it did take a couple of chapters to get to that point.
The book is very cleverly written with each chapter flipping between Claire in the present day though to Claire as a fifteen year old, set firmly and hysterically in the 80's, with all the details making it very believable.
The present day details are just as valid, with this being a very recently released book, due to a good portion of the story being dedicated to Robert Pattison in all his Edward and Twilight glory and Frankie's eldest daughters love for him, again a fantastic comparison to Claire and her best friend Frankies obssession to their chosen heart throbs Matt Goodyear and Andy Pailles, footballers and general sex gods!
But much of this soon becomes blurred, what would you do if given the opportunity to meet and become friends with your hearthrob, and would you trust them enough not to destroy your dreams of them?
This book is funny, thrilling and at times heart breaking, most of us have been in the situation as the inbetweeners, on the cusp of adulthood from childhood, with enough hormones to sink ships, and needing to fixate on someone unattainable, but the thrill is you never get to meet them, but instead love them from affar, this book delves into the forbidden world of celebrity, but it is all written in such a readable way that I can only highly recommend it.
Price wise this is available from www.amazon.co.uk starting from £4.00 for a paperback copy.
For more information visit - www.linda-green.com
Thanks for reading x
Absolutely Brilliant Book!
I've never read anything by the author and so read it only because it was on offer in the supermarket. And I am so glad I did. The story's twists and turns keep you entertained all the way through.
The story is basically that of Claire, who feeling discontented in her present life, upon finding a list of what she wanted from life by the time she was twenty when she was at school prompts her to revisit her childhood past and assess what she valued as being important then and now.
It keeps you constantly intregued as to what really happened when she was younger, makes you laugh, even makes you cry, more than that it makes you stop and think about your own life and determine whether as she thought, you gave up on your dreams and grew up, or you simply matured into the person you are now. And most of all, it makes you assess what is truly important; the last question on her list: "Are you happy?"
Linda Green's new book Things I wished I'd Known has recently been released in paperback. I brought my copy from Whsmiths and it was on offer for half price so decided to give it a try as I have not read one of her books before and I am finding I am continually trying out new authors.
Claire is the main character in this book. She is a likeable character who is in her late thirties and has found her life has been jolted somewhat when she comes across a list she had wrote back in her teens with her best friend Frankie. The list the girls decided to make was about what they thought they would be doing in 20years time. When Claire comes across the list, her troubled past is thrown back in her face and she realises how different her life has become from what she expected it to be. She was convinced she would be married to her teenage idol, Andy Pailes, United football player.
Now is the time for Claire to decide what she is going to do with her life as options of new employment, and a chance to take her current relationship further arises.
The way in which the book is written is each chapter in the book changes to past and then to present. We get to see Claire in her day to day life as a teenager as we are introduced to her best friend Frankie who Claire goes to watch football with so she can see the man she is convinced she loves, Andy Pailes. Did Claire capture Andy's eye?
Back in the present we see Claire in a relationship with the lovely Mark who would like for them to take their relationship to the next level and move in together but Claire is not sure if it is what she wants or if she is ready for this after she comes across the list. Problem is Mark also finds the list and feels this is what is holding their relationship back so he manages to get Andy Pailes address and suggests Claire goes to see him so she can finally move on with her life may it be with him or Andy.
I found the way the book was wrote was quite hard to get into at the start of the book with the story keep jumping back and forward in Claire's life. I didn't truly get into the flow of the book and start to enjoy it until I got about half way through which is when the story seemed to pick up its pace.
I warmed to all of the characters other than Andy who is the one who caused the troubled past for Claire. The Character Frankie was one of my favourites in this book. We see her in the teenage years with Claire and she also makes a reappearance later in the book when Claire's past comes up. She had changed so much from her teenage years and was nothing like you expected her to turn out like. She seemed like a friend every girl would want.
After reading this book it has made me want to try another of her books as although it was a slow start once you wee half way through the story seemed to envelope you and make you want to read more. I would advise anyone who is going to read this book to bare with the structure of the book as by the time you get to chapter 6 you seem to get used to jumping back and forward in Claire's life.
In my opinion the chapters which go back in time to 1985, Claire's teenage years were the best parts of the book as it was not predictable and kept you wanting more, were as her present day chapters seem to drag on and start to bore you I found myself in a few places skipping a paragraph as it was so dull. The present part of her life improved when Frankie re-entered her life. I personally didn't see the need for the amount of information given to the cases in which Claire worked I didn't feel this was necessary for the book .
I am looking forward to trying one of her other books which I have found out are:-
I Did a Bad Thing (2007)
10 Reasons Not to Fall in Love (2009)
And I will be looking out for her new book next year which is to be titled
And Then it Happened.
Claire is a thirty-something legal professional who has been in a relationship with Mark for the last two years. Not long after he suggests that they move in together, she comes across The List. Twenty years earlier, she and best friend Frankie had listed their hopes/dreams for the future (who they'd be married to, how many kids they'd have, what their job would be etc). As far as the teenage Claire was concerned, she would be married to United footballer Andy Pailes (who she had a BIG crush on back then) with two kids and be working as a lawyer. While the career part isn't far off the mark, the rest didn't come true and she isn't even in touch with Frankie anymore. Finding the list again makes Claire start thinking about the life she'd envisaged back then and how different her actual life is.
The narrative flips between 'now' and 'then' with one chapter focusing on the present day and the next going back to her teenage days. I assume that Claire's life now is supposed to be dull to contrast with the list but I found the 'now' chapters really boring and up until the part where she meets Andy again I actually found myself speed reading them to get to the next 'then' chapter. Even from the inside cover blurb (my library copy is a hardback) it's obvious that Claire had at typical teenage crush on her idol but I was intrigued by the random interspersing of paragraphs that were thrown into the 'then' chapters, which hinted at some kind of involvement. I couldn't make my mind up whether they were flashbacks that would fit into place later on or whether they were simply wishful thinking. This desire to find out which one was right fuelled my interest in the 'then' chapters.
The plot might sound very basic and thin but I quickly got involved with Claire's character - the teenage side much more so, I have to admit. At first, the grown up Claire started to irritate me a bit as I felt like she saw Mark as safe and boring because he wasn't the same as Andy. That opinion lingered for much of the book as it did seem a lot like she'd had an intense teenage crush (haven't we all!) and blown it out of all proportion so that no-one else would compare. With that in the back of my mind, I wanted to see if there was more to it than that as there were some hints dropped into the 'now' chapters that implied there may have been more to it. Things start to unravel around three-quarters of the book so this isn't one where you have to wait until the very last page until you find out the whole story. I must admit that the truth surprised me more than a bit and was a pretty good twist as I didn't see it coming.
As far as the characters went, I liked Claire and Frankie (her teenage best friend who comes back into the equation during adulthood) and thought that they were interesting characters who could be related to. In the beginning, I liked Andy's character as he seemed like a decent guy (especially for what I assume was supposed to be a famous and top-class footballer) but I changed opinion of him later on and came to dislike his character a lot.
All in all, I really liked this book. It was my first introduction to Linda Green and I'm not sure if she's written any other books but if she has, I'm inclined to check them out.
Back when she was a teenager, Claire Cooper thought she had her life mapped out: she'd have a fantastic job as a corporate lawyer, she'd still be best friends with Frankie and, most importantly, she'd be married to Andy Pailes. But life never quite works out as you imagine it and finds herself stuck in a dead-end job with a failed marriage behind her and currently dating Mark, an ambulance-chasing lawyer. Claire's life is turned upside down when she finds the Dream List she wrote aged 15 mapping out the life she thought she'd have. But where did it all go wrong and what exactly happened to Claire's idol Andy Pailes?
I first heard of Linda Green last year when I managed to pick up 10 Reasons Not To Fall In Love for a euro and after reading it I felt it was one of the best euros I had ever ever spent because I absolutely loved the book. Linda managed to write a really warm and enjoyable book that also had a bit of a dark side and I thought it was just brilliant. I was so thrilled to see her next book Things I Wish I'd Known on Amazon for a May 2010 release and I also managed to get hold of a copy of her debut, too, which I still have to read. So imagine my delight when I come home one day to find an early proof copy of Things I Wish I'd Known ready for me to read and I started it straight away!
Much like her previous offering, Things I Wish I'd Known, at first, seems like a relatively light read but it soon becomes clear that, like 10 Reasons Not To Fall In Love, there is a dark edge to the book that gets revealed in stages as the book progresses. It was a very clever idea from Linda because it kept me reading. We weren't left totally in the dark over everything that happened during Claire's teenage years but nor did it all come out at once. There's only 16 chapters in total in the book and these all cover Claire's life as it is now in the present with Mark, her job and what not. We then have another 16 chapters (without chapter headings and with only dates from the 80s distinguishing them from each other) between each present chapter recounting all of the things that happened when Claire was a teenager.
I think I probably preferred unravelling Claire's teenage years than I did learning about her present life. (I like a mystery, what can I say). When we first meet teenage Claire, she's about to go to United's training ground with best friend Frankie to see her idol Andy Pailes. Not only does Claire really like Andy but Frankie loves Matt Goodyear - United's superstar of the moment. So many an afternoon is spent on the training pitch as both Claire and Frankie try to get their idols to notice them. Claire does manage to eventually talk to Andy and finds that he's even more charming than she was expecting him to be and finds herself falling deeper and deeper for her hero. Just how far is Claire willing to go to try and get Andy for herself and is that even a realistic possibility? I thought the tale of Claire's love for Andy was both disturbing yet also believeable - who hasn't loved someone who appears to be unattainable? - and although I wanted to give Claire a good shake most of the time I could see just how obsessed she appeared to be with Andy.
As we learn all about Claire's teenage years, we also learn about her life as it is now. In particular I loved her job - having to defend repeat criminal offenders. It's not exactly the job she'd dreamed of but I could see how much it meant to try and help her clients. I actually also loved Claire's relationship with boyfriend Mark - he seemed really sweet and I liked them together. The Dream List Claire created becomes a big part of her adult life once she finds it and reads it and I could see how difficult it was to see that she hadn't fulfilled her teenage hopes and dreams and the journey she goes on is an interesting one. Another huge favourite part of mine from Claire's adult life is her re-meeting of Frankie, her former best friend. I really loved Frankie in both her adult and teenage life.
While I loved all of the characters, the only one I didn't manage to like at all was Andy Pailes. It seemed fairly obvious to everyone just how much Claire idolised him and he was either too stupid to notice or he did notice and didn't appear too bothered. There was a rather large - and shocking - twist towards the end of the book and I was gobsmacked at what happened and did not see it coming. That is definitely down to how good Linda Green is at writing her books as for me to not guess a plot twist is a rare occurrence. Linda really is a talented writer and so far, of her three books, I've loved two of them and look forward to finally getting around to reading her debut. My only problem with Things I Wish I'd Known was the entire goings on between Claire and Andy. Both adult and teenage I found it hard to swallow. The teenage part more than anything but what Claire's contemplates as an adult, particularly after we the reader learns everything, is just hard to understand and get my head around. I can certainly understand why Claire loved and admired Andy as a teenager and I can probably understand how it effected her but I still couldn't understand the hold Andy appeared to have.
Overall though I did really enjoy Things I Wish I'd Known and I loved that it was jam-packed with 80s nostalgia (even if I'm a little young to know of any of it - I was born in the 90s). Plenty of readers who grew up in the 80s will be able to relate to this book hugely and I absolutely recommend picking it up as it is a fab read. Linda Green is certainly an author to watch and although she's a relatively new published chick lit author she's going places and ranks high up on my author watch list that's for sure.