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Don't You Forget About Me: Hilarious, heartwarming and romantic – the funniest Romantic Comedy of 2019 from the Author of If I Never Met You Paperback – 19 August 2019
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‘I loved it! So funny and warm – a delicious read’ Marian Keyes
‘Wildly funny and wildly romantic… Another wonderful novel from an author at the top of her game’ Louise O’Neill
‘Beautiful, funny and heartbreaking’ Giovanna Fletcher
‘Funny and heartfelt, full of humour and wisdom, I absolutely loved it’ Katie Fforde
‘Intelligent, edgy and laugh out loud funny – a romantic comedy to love’ Sunday Mirror
‘The perfect mix of comedy, whip smart dialogue and all the feels’ Fabulous
‘Mhairi gets the mix of laughs, romance and serious emotional depth just right in this page-turner that stands out from the crowd’ S Magazine
‘Hilarious, clever and beautifully written’ Daily Mail
‘Fiery, feminist, fit, filthy and very timely … astonishingly good’ Harriet Reuter Hapgood
‘A warm belly full of joy from start to finish!’ Holly Bourne
‘Mhairi’s best yet: nobody does modern love like her, hilarious, devastating and real’ Laura Kemp
Praise for Mhairi McFarlane:
‘An effortlessly brilliant read – will have you laughing when you shouldn’t and sobbing when you least expect it’ Giovanna Fletcher
‘Totally hilarious and wincingly real’ Jenny Colgan
‘Her best yet – write faster!’ Holly Bourne
‘No-one writes such wry, emotionally complex romantic fiction’ RED
‘The perfect balance of romcom and drama… the ultimate holiday read!’ GRAZIA
‘Warm, nuanced, compelling’ STYLIST
‘Intelligent and insightful’ HEAT
‘Sparky, smart, sore-stomach-laughing kind of read’ FABULOUS
Hilarious, heartwarming and romantic – the funniest Romantic Comedy of 2019 from the Author of If I Never Met You
- Publisher : HarperCollins GB (19 August 2019)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 432 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0008169330
- ISBN-13 : 978-0008169336
- Dimensions : 12.9 x 2.74 x 19.8 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 33,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Georgina is thirty years old and is fired from her job as a waitress then goes to see her boyfriend of six months only to find him in bed with another woman. This isn't a particularly unique trope in the romance/women's fiction area. But the rest of the story has plenty to recommend it. Through a family connection she gets a one-off gig helping to tend bar at a wake and is offered a job by the end of the night. The offer comes from one of two brothers who have bought and renovated the pub. She's met the one brother but the other arrives much later and turns out to be her first love from high school. But he behaves as though he is meeting her for the first time.
This is no shallow story and it delves into some deep-rooted issues in several areas of her life and it ends up with quite a few touching scenes by the end.
I wouldn't say it's a solid five stars but it's pretty close. I don't give such high ratings often but this surely deserves a strong one.
Top reviews from other countries
From the word go it evokes memories of Sixth Form, puts you back there in the common room, back there in English Lit (I now really do want to read Wuthering Heights, nobody else has made me want to, this achievement should be added to Mhairi's author page tbh, it's honestly quite the attainment if you ask me). Mhairi has such a talent for putting the reader in the room, it honestly feels like you're sat just out of shot, whether that's in the pub or in a kitchen on a Sunday afternoon. She makes you feel like you could reach out and touch the characters.
I love Georgina, her self doubt, her need to fit in and the work it entails, and lots of other things that I can't write about as a) spoilers and b) too personal naval gazing for an Amazon review but suffice to say, I relate to her most out of any of the lead characters of Mhairi's novels (whilst knowing I could never live up to her brilliance and beauty - the irony of this is not lost) plus she speaks so much truth, so much wisdom. Oh, and I really wish I didn't have to develop a massive crush on the lead men every time but alas I do, and Lucas is no exception.
And again the friends and housemates and workmates and parents all feel like they could have a novel written about them too, so real and interesting they all are.
Honestly, how Mhairi does this every time I wish I knew. She's so bloody brilliant.
And I'll never be able to look at caramelised pecans the same way again.
The story begins in Sheffield, 2007 with our girl Georgina in sixth form, and rapidly approaching the end of her schooldays. A surprise seat reshuffle during an English class, pairs her with the quiet and somewhat mysterious Lucas, a relative newcomer after recently moving schools from Dublin, and not someone Georgina has previously paid much attention to. All that changes as they get to know each other better against a backdrop of Wuthering Heights discussions, love notes and make out sessions in the local Botanical Gardens. The sixth form prom is meant to be the night they take their secret relationship to the next level, but a mixture of lies, miscommunications and hurt pride instead meant it was the night they parted forever. Or so we thought...
Forward to the present day, and Georgina is in a going-nowhere-fast job at an abomination of an Italian restaurant, has a flakey, self obsessed boyfriend, a patronising, disappointed family and a housemate from hell. Just when she thinks things can’t possibly get any worse, she’s unfairly sacked from the worst restaurant in town and then promptly finds her fella in bed with his PA! When you’re that low, the only way has to be up, and it appears Georgina’s luck could possibly be changing when she gets an unexpected job offer in a beautifully refurbished bar in town, working for the delightful new owner Delvin, who is everything you could want in the perfect boss. That is of course, until she meets his brother and partner in the business, in the familiar shape of tall, dark and handsome Lucas....
Oh this book was a joy! The perfect mixture of laughs, heartbreak and slow burn romance. As always with Mhairi’s female leads, I loved Georgina’s character from the off. I recognised the smart, likeable girl who desperately wanted to get the approval of the ‘cool kids’ in her class, and in doing so, suppressed her own potential in a bid to fit in and be accepted -
“You play down your intelligence to enhance your standing with your peers. There’s a big wide world outside these walls, Georgina Horspool, and exam grades will get you further than their laughter. Pretty faces grow old too, you know.”
Sixth form Lucas too, was adorable from his first introduction. His “I love your laugh. X” note made me pull a silly grin as I thought back to how thrilled I would have been at that age to get that note from a boy I was falling for. I read the whole of the prologue wanting to shout at the screen “Don’t hide him away Georgina!! He’s a good ‘un! Be proud to be with him!” But of course, we all know that some things - not making yourself a target, fitting in with everyone else, doing nothing that could possibly be mocked or ridiculed by classmates - seem so vitally important whilst still a pupil, that you’ll do whatever is necessary, however misguided, to avoid the sniggering and mickey taking. I’m sure we’ve all known a version of Richard Hardy. The supposed cool kid, with an underlying nastiness to many of his ‘witty’ quips. His approval would have felt so necessary if for no other reason than to avoid being the butt of his joke. For the self doubters of the world, acceptance by the ‘in crowd’ is sometimes the validation you feel you need to get by at school. And for all her intellect and natural wit, Georgina certainly falls into that category of not quite believing herself good enough.
When we pick up again with 30 year old Georgina, that self doubt is still bubbling under her surface. ‘Why am I still doing this rubbish job? Am I too old to be still pull off this look? Am I too boring in my relationship? All these negative questions are not helped, her close friends aside, by the people around her, who could hardly be accused of being uplifting or supportive! This little gem of wisdom from Tony, the terrible chef at That’s Amore!, was a typically cutting example -
“Be careful with that heavy make-up as a blonde. One minute you’re punk like Daryl Hannah in Blade Runner, the next you’re Julie Goodyear.”
That said, so much of the That’s Amore! description was hilarious! I could totally picture this hellhole of a restaurant with its disgusting kitchen and equally grubby chef! I cringed along with Georgina at the simpering lengths she had to go to in order to try to balance keeping both kitchen and customer happy -
“It turns out my role is less a waitress, more an apologist for gastronomic terrorism. I’m a mule, shuttling the criminal goods from kitchen to table and acting innocent when questioned.”
“They told me that a free lunch was a perk of my meagre wage, and I soon discovered that’s an up-side like getting a ride on an inflatable slide if your plane crashes”
I swear I could totally picture the congealed muck on the plates she was forced to serve up! As always with a McFarlane book, even the smallest character is perfectly drawn. Tony, fag hanging out of his mouth and wispy mullet sticking out of his chef’s hat, is such a clear image for me, I’m sure I could pick him out of a police line up. It’s always one of the joys in reading this authors work, the total realism of all her characters.
I found the family dynamic particularly rang true. The dysfunctional family unit she grew up in, with unhappy parents constantly fighting and drawing Georgina and her sister into taking sides, I’m sure feels familiar to many of us who grew up with parents at war with each other -
“It was mine and my sister’s responsibility to act as buffer zones and brake pads, and simply to be someone living in their house that they liked”
I found her description of Saturdays out with her Dad and the relationship they had, particularly touching and at times, quite heartbreaking. Now I seem to be painting this book as quite sad and downbeat, but trust me, it’s totally not! However, I think all the best comedy has light and shade, it gives way more depth and becomes a far superior book because of it. But at its heart, this book is a brilliant rom com, and there is plenty of comedy and romance to keep every McFarlane fan happy.
I LOVED Georgina’s friends! What a fab bunch they all were. I was particularly fond of her loveable young workmate Kitty. Her naive innocence made me smile on so many occasions. Her sheer horror at the suggestion she may like to keep a diary in the future was priceless! -
“Oh my God, no one does that, what am I, some sort of Victorian person!’ Kitty says. ‘Yeah, like, I wrote my diary in my big death nightie and, like, ate mutton pie and that. Wrote it with one of those pens that are feathers.’
‘What the hell is a big death nightie?!’ I say, putting aside the fact Kitty called me ancient.
‘Those nighties that ghosts wear and they put old people in. You know. Like in a Muppet’s Christmas Carol.’
‘Hahahhaa. The Muppets’ Christmas Carol. RIP Charles Dickens.’ Devlin says.
‘I know who Charles Dickens is!’
‘Do you? My bad,’ Devlin says.
‘He’s the bear, he tells the story.’
Devlin and I look at each other and hoot and Kitty says, ‘Oh piss off!”
Special mentions must also go to the fabulous Nana Hogg, the gorgeously warm Dev, kind and lovely Mark, narcissist Robin and, although I loathed him, the perfectly drawn, odious little toad Geoffrey. His put downs and sly digs made me furious on Georgina’s behalf, but it’s the mark of brilliant writing that his words can cause such a reaction in the reader -
“Oh for goodness’ sake, your indispensability to some grotty boozer! Yes, I am sure they’ll be scouring Yorkshire trying to find another person with opposable thumbs, capable of placing a glass on a counter top and counting coins. It’ll be like that hunt for a pop star programme. Soda Pop Idol hahaha.”
But back to Lucas *sigh* The older Lucas we met in the book, came across as a darker, moodier version to the affectionate teen we were originally introduced to, but of course, that was for several very good reasons. I found the romance in this book a slightly slower burn than in the authors previous work, but no less glorious because of that. I’d like to assure fans of You Had Me At Hello and It’s Not Me It’s You, that the ‘I wondered if’ speech in this book is right up there with Ben’s declaration in chapter 69 and Adam’s love letter respectively
There were heartbreaking parts to this story as well as the heartwarming. When discussions were finally had about the disastrous prom night, I could have cried I was so sad for all the hurt and pain that was caused, but I’m glad that Georgina finally had clarity about what happened and just who should have carried the blame for that night. As with most situations, talking and being honest is the only way answers can be found, and closure can be achieved.
You may think when reading the books blurb that Don’t You Forget About Me is just a classic second chance romance, but actually for me, it’s much more than that. It’s really a tale about learning to be kinder to yourself. Of not putting yourself down, and not allowing others to do that to you either. It’s a reminder that secrets and lies can fester and eat away at you if you let them and that being honest with yourself and others can prevent so much hurt and confusion. So maybe this new year, we should all try to give ourselves a break. To acknowledge that we are good enough and we are all trying to do our best, and really, that should be good enough, for ourselves and for all those people who claim to care about us.
In Don’t You Forget About Me, Mhairi McFarlane has written another cracker of a story. It’s warm and witty, heartbreaking and uplifting and I loved every word of it. I just have one final request for Ms McFarlane - please, please, PLEASE, don’t leave it so long for the next book!!!
Wouldn't rush to read her other books unless I found one free on KU.