A Better Man by Leah McLaren

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A Better Man by Leah McLaren

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: Nick decides to be a better man to hide the fact he’s worse than Maya ever imagined, but can he carry it off?
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 302 Date: August 2015
Publisher: Corvus
ISBN: 978-1782396345

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Maya and Nick are both the same type of person. A special type of person. She doesn’t really see it, but they are. He is obsessed with his company, an advertising agency, and the expected long hours of not just shoots and post-production, but also client relationship management that such a field entails. She is just as obsessed, but it’s not with her former life as a hot shot lawyer – now she’s obsessed with their twins and every moment of their little lives, from enriching activities to bonding sleepy times in the family bed. The one thing they’re no longer really obsessed with, though, is each other. And therein lies the problem.

Nick wants out, and luckily he knows a good divorce lawyer, but there’s a problem. He is a material man and he has a lot, which means he has a lot to lose. The settlement will be horrific. He has two choices, either stay and continue the misery, or reform his character, play the role of loving father and devoted husband, and continue this charade long enough that it will seem plausible when they do come before a judge. So that’s what he will do. He needs to be a changed man. A Better Man.

This is a wickedly funny book with such a unique voice that I took to it immediately. While told from both Maya’s and Nick’s point of view, it’s clear the book is written by a woman, and a mother at that, because some of the nuances of family life that are perfectly captured here would swish right over the heads of many men and fathers. It’s about life in the 21st century and while it’s not immediately obvious where it’s set, except we know it’s not New York, it doesn’t matter because it could be anywhere. I was a little surprised when the divorce papers came out and finally stated the city because I’ve been there and yet I hadn’t got a familiar feel while I was reading, but I suppose that’s not the point.

Though in a battle you’re supposed to pick one side to root for, I didn’t feel like I was being made to choose between Maya and Nick here, because both got to give their side of the story. He wasn’t as bad as she thought, and she wasn’t as pristine as she might like to have thought. There’s a notable lack of family in this story, and the supporting cast are essentially a few colleagues and their nanny, Velma who, I should add, sounds like a marvellous woman.

So where does this leave us? With a story of a relationship breakdown. An issue which shouldn’t be something to find joy in, but this one leaves you feeling entertained at the very least. It’s a good story. Nick’s change is brilliant because we see the reluctance with which he starts to do The Right Thing. It’s believable, as is his initial motive for doing this. Because, deep down, it’s possible he’s not a nice man.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and have been recommending it already. It’s not a book you may necessarily immediately identify with, and it didn’t leave me glad for the state of my relationship, nor did it make me start questioning said relationship, but that’s quite nice. It’s old school reading, where you lose yourself in another world without feeling you need to identify with every aspect of it, and because of that it’s a great beach book for when you just want to escape your own life and live in someone else’s for a while. Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this book.

If this appeals, you might also like Techbitch by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza.

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Buy A Better Man by Leah McLaren at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Better Man by Leah McLaren at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy A Better Man by Leah McLaren at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Better Man by Leah McLaren at Amazon.com.


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