Not Funny Not Clever by Jo Verity

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Not Funny Not Clever by Jo Verity

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Another winner from the amazing Honno as Jo Verity looks at friendship and temptation. Highly recommended
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: March 2011
Publisher: Honno
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1906784249

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Elizabeth was rather looking forward to her trip to Cardiff. She and Diane hadn't got together for a really good chat for a long time and with Laurence being away on a cookery course in France it seemed like the ideal opportunity to take advantage of Diane's invitation. She had visions of girly chats – if you can still have girly chats at nearly fifty. But her plans were going to be disrupted. Her son blessed her with his partner's teenage son 'for a few days in an emergency' and she had no option but to take Jordan in – and then to take him to Cardiff with her.

When Elizabeth finds out what's behind Diane's need for a girly chat she's almost relieved when the trip becomes even more crowded. Diane's neighbour – a TV weatherman – and his two daughters, plus Elizabeth and Diane all decamp to the weatherman's holiday home on Gower. So there she is with three hormonal teenagers, a friend who seems little more mature than them and temptation in the form of the very attractive weatherman. Elizabeth isn't really into spontaneity – she's a lit bit controlling if truth be told – and this is all quite a challenge to her.

For quite a while now I've been getting emails from reviewers anxious to get their hands on the next book from Honno. It's not just particular authors who attract but a feeling that this is a publisher who rarely puts a foot wrong. You're guaranteed a good story and excellent writing so any book they produce is well worth a look. This time I took the opportunity to snaffle Jo Verity's Not Funny Not Clever for myself and now I know what all the fuss was about.

It's a great story, primarily about friendship and how it can be abused and whether or not it's possible for a woman to have a male friend in the same way that she would have a female friend. I empathised completely with Elizabeth, with her preference for safety and a settled, ordered life. But I could understand the temptation of Dafydd Jones, who makes her feel attractive and intelligent. It was easy to see why she felt that she should be loyal to Diane, despite some of her less attractive traits. Yes – Elizabeth is someone who will stay with me for some time, standing out amongst a list of characters all of whom came off the page fully formed. Perhaps the best creation though is Jordan, the teenager who's handed around like an unwanted present.

Mmm… I think there might be a bit of a fight the next time that we get something from Honno and I'd certainly like to thank them for sending this book to the Bookbag. We also have a review of Left and Leaving by Jo Verity.

If this book appeals then we think that you should have a look at absolutely anything by Lorraine Jenkin.

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Buy Not Funny Not Clever by Jo Verity at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Not Funny Not Clever by Jo Verity at


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