You probably didn’t expect me to be reviewing a chick-lit (or more properly, lad-lit) book, but there you have it. Mike Gayle is my guilty pleasure. Mike writes a class of books that are generally relationship-based, from the man’s point of view. His first book, My Legendary Girlfriend, was a hit with me as I knew someone in almost exactly the same torch-carrying situation (no, it wasn’t me).
Turning Forty is the sequel to Gayle’s 2000 novel Turning Thirty, and features Matt Beckford, a Birmingham-born chap who starts the book as a high-flier in the IT world, married and generally doing well in life. Of course, the book starts when this all goes wrong and Matt’s life undergoes a whirly revolution involving briefly moving back with his parents, hooking back up with old flames, hooking up with new flames, meeting and falling out with old mates, charity shops and beers with his schoolday pop idol.
Mike Gayle books are the literary equivalent of bubblegum pop crossed with Chinese take out – you can read it in a day, they slip very easily into the brain and you feel like another one straight after. But you know what? They’re great fun and you can’t help liking Matt Beckford, even though he is clearly nothing like me, falls head-over heels at the drop of a hat, has a self-centred streak and seems to act entirely on impulse without thinking anything through for five minutes first. These are the kind of things that happen to Matt Beckford :
I go to a party! A gorgeous girl talks to me! Whoo – I’m in love! We move in together on a whim – why not! Let’s give up our jobs and travel the world! We fall out – I hate her! Never speaking to her again! I go for a beer to drown my sorrows. At the pub I meet a gorgeous girl! Whoo – I’m in love! We move… (cont. p94)
Maybe I’m just unlucky and a bit jealous that none of these things ever seemed to happen to Rob Glover. In the meantime, this is a really fun summer read and I look forward to the day Mike Gayle decides to write Turning Fifty.