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  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Funny and oh so charming!

    A short time ago, I was browsing in my local bookstore when it was suggested that I was a lover of “quirky, contemporary fiction”. Not knowing that this was a subgenre, I still wholeheartedly agreed. Think "The Rosie Project", "The Full Ridiculous" or "Amy Falls Down", to name just a few. Let’s face it, in this wild and crazy world there are times when you just want to sit down to a fun, playful read. One that makes you laugh out loud, but still offers food for thought in comfortably sized bites. Ben Adam’s debut novel, "Six Months to Get a Life", is that and more. Because, you see, while I was having fun with this playful book, something else happened: I developed a bit of an attachment to the protagonist and his circumstances. At a time in life when most of us hope to be financially independent, there’s Graham Hope, back in his childhood bedroom and sharing a bathroom with his parents. When he comes up with a six-month plan to turn it all around, he got my attention. Really? That’s all he needs? Six months? Anyone who’s been through a divorce knows how much of a mine field it can be. Family, friends, children – they’re all affected and they all have something to say. Loyalties can be called into question, sides are drawn, and the behavior gloves come off. There are winners and there are losers, and that’s all before you start dating. Adams brings it all together effortlessly, mixes it up, and sprinkles it all around Graham’s six-month quest. One thing that makes it all so palatable is the narrative voice. Graham is writing in a journal, but it’s as if he’s talking to a close buddy–and that’s you, the reader. He is friendly and frank, when he could easily be whiney and bitter. He is a sort of twenty-first century, middle-aged “boy next door”. Of course, with that comes empathy. Even as a woman, I couldn't help but feel bad for him when he admits to having a small penis and a big ego. If he had just admitted to a big ego, well, who would really like him? But throw in the small penis, and how can you help yourself? And then there’s the twerking episode … Which is to say that there is a good helping of humor throughout, and it’s at its best when Graham is either trying to date or when he’s parenting his two boys, Sean and Jack. I couldn't help but wonder though if I was missing some of it, being Canadian and sadly lacking in a knowledge of current ‘Britishisms’ and the British Premier League (I hear that’s a football thing). But really, rather than taking away from my experience as a reader, it charmed me. I don’t understand everything they say in "Four Weddings and a Funeral", "Bridget Jones", or "Downton Abbey", but that doesn't make me love them any less. As the climax of the novel approaches, Adams throws in a few surprise twists that made me sorry it was coming to an end. And that’s the great thing. It really doesn't. He leaves us with a tease—an excerpt from a sequel he’s calling "Six Lies". I, for one, am looking forward to it.
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