The Life and Soul of the Party by Mike Gayle
|The Life and Soul of the Party by Mike Gayle
|Category: General Fiction
|Reviewer: Jo Heffer
|Summary: Melissa, Chris, Vicky, Cooper and Laura are very good friends who keep meeting up at different parties. Through the course of one year they attend many and all for different reasons. By the end of the year though, their lives will have changed for good and their friendships truly tested.
|Date: April 2009
|Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
There are many different reasons for throwing a party – New Year, birthdays, anniversaries, house warmings, people leaving and even funerals – and through the course of a year the characters in this excellent book by Mike Gayle experience all of these. In fact, the book is split into six parts each focusing on a different party.
The main characters in this book are a group of thirty somethings who have a long shared history. Chris and Vicky are a couple; as are Cooper and Laura. Melissa used to be with Paul but they each have new partners now who sometimes feel a bit like outsiders when the group of friends are together. This book charts a year in their lives, full of highs and lows, and by the end, all their lives have changed considerably and their friendship truly tested.
From the first page I was completely hooked. The book is very easy to read because of Mike Gayle's relaxed style. Also the characters seem so real and likeable – I almost felt as if I was reading about a group of my own good friends. Because I felt like this I started to care what happened to them and found myself rooting for things to turn out well.
I loved the way that the story centred around the six different parties. Each one had a different focus and various things had occurred in the meantime which made it interesting to see how the characters have moved on. Emotions and expectations varied greatly at each event depending on the state of the different relationships and this was fascinating.
Also, each party was divided up by the different characters each telling their own small part of the story. As it was all written in the first person this could have been confusing, but it wasn't. This is because each character is different with their own viewpoint and Mike Gayle very cleverly changes his style depending on who is telling the story. I was also very convinced by all the characters and he is adept at narrating from either the male or female point of view.
Mike Gayle tells such a good story in all of his novels and this one is no exception. Although, I would probably describe it as a light easy read, it does tug at your emotions and I have to confess that there were one or two moments when I was close to tears as I was reading. It's an absorbing read from start to finish and when I reached the last page I had that slightly disappointed feeling that it was all over. To me, that is definitely the sign of a good read!
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag. We also have a review of The Hope Family Calendar by Mike Gayle.
If this book appeals, you might want to take a look at The Flirt by Kathleen Tessaro.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Life and Soul of the Party by Mike Gayle at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Life and Soul of the Party by Mike Gayle at Amazon.com.
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