Yes! I Can Manage, Thank You! by Virginia Ironside

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Yes! I Can Manage, Thank You! by Virginia Ironside

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Ani Johnson
Reviewed by Ani Johnson
Summary: Marie Sharp, the older generations Bridget Jones is back again. New lodger, new neighbour, new niggles but the same cosy-chocolate-for-the-soul style that makes us think as much as smile.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 368 Date: March 2015
Publisher: Quercus
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1782069287

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As mid-60s edges towards late, Marie Sharp has even more of life's challenges to grapple with and even more to give. Her beloved Archie has passed away and she feels it's time to take a new lodger. Maybe someone male and a little younger? There's also Melanie; a new gale force of nature next door neighbour now that the wind-chime-challenged Brad and Sharmie have moved on. Unfortunately Marie doesn't like her but this only gets worse when Marie realises that she's the only person who doesn't like her. However, not all is negative. Grandson Gene is now 7 years old and may be the link to a little part time work for Marie to keep her artistic hand in. If she could work out why one side of her tummy is a different size and shape to the other, life would be practically perfect. Or maybe it's best not to think about that at all?

Agony aunt and writer extraordinaire Virginia Ironside brings Marie back to life for us again for a third time after No, I Don't Want to Join A Book Club and last year's wonderful No! I Don't Need Reading Glasses. The really clever thing about the series is that it may be a fictional diary of someone who's autumnally-yeared but it resonates like a tinkling bell down the generations. If we haven't done what Marie has, we sure as heck know someone who has, enabling us to nod, smirk and guffaw sagely. While we're doing this Virginia seamlessly inter-weaves an authentic light on multi-generational issues.

Certain new arrivals like a barking dog and Melanie may become a pain to Marie but for us they provide some great set pieces. There are also some old friends among the cast such as Marion, Penny (and her smell by dates), the lovely James (who would date Melanie if he weren't gay) and Marie's ex-husband David who has dated Melanie. The wondrously snide Daily Rant jibes are there too.

Also this time Marie has to take some sticky decisions regarding bumps and tissue irregularity - and not just the obvious go-to-the-doctor versus ignore-it type. Marie muses about the line along which we would all wobble between not wanting to worry anyone and not offending them with silence when the eventually find out.

Another topical storyline relates to one of Gene's little friends at school… or rather one of his little non-friends. (I know what you may be thinking, but don't try to second guess this one before you get there.) Once again this isn't a senior-specific hazard but one that proves how teachers need as much diplomacy as they do passion. This sub-plot also raises the one niggle I have with the novel. I won't give anything away, but there are one or two coincidences that materialise around this in a more convenient than convincing manner. Having said that, this just knocks the slight edge off perfection and makes an otherwise 5* novel, 4½*, while also reinforcing my desire to be just like Marie when our ages finally match.

(Thank you so much Quercus for providing us with a copy for review.)

Further Reading: If this appeals then the superlative No! I Don't Need Reading Glasses! awaits. If you're already a fan and like a bit of cutting wit, we also most definitely recommend The Stepmother's Diary by Fay Weldon (though diaries being the subject of the story rather than the format of it in this case).

Buy Yes! I Can Manage, Thank You! by Virginia Ironside at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Yes! I Can Manage, Thank You! by Virginia Ironside at

Buy Yes! I Can Manage, Thank You! by Virginia Ironside at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Yes! I Can Manage, Thank You! by Virginia Ironside at


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