Friday, May 23, 2014

Book Review: Some Girls Do

By Becky Gulc

Frisky Business by Clodagh Murphy was my favourite book of the year in 2013 so when I was approached to review Some Girls Do, Clodagh’s latest novel, I was more than happy to do so. Would the second book I’ve read by this author live up to my expectations though? Yes! Yes! Yes! Another fantastic book I cannot rave about enough. But what’s it all about?

Meet ‘real life’ Claire Kennedy. Claire works in a bookshop, lives with her elderly mother in Dublin, rarely goes out, and is far from sexually experienced. Then meet ‘NiceGirl,’Claire’s alter ego who documents (a.k.a. makes up) her steamy love life on her popular blog, ‘Scenes of a Sexual Nature’. When Mark Bell, an attractive London publisher approaches ‘NiceGirl’ about not only a prospective book deal, but also a possible relationship, Claire goes into panic mode. As an aspiring writer and quite frankly someone who wants to be in a relationship, Mark is someone she is keen to impress. Confessing the truth isn’t considered an option, so Claire comes up with a plan to boost her experience in the bedroom and quickly, before things develop with Mark. Luca, a struggling artist and commitment-phobe comes into Claire’s life at just the right point, and she strikes a deal with him to develop her skills in the bedroom. But will Claire get what she needs from this deal? And will Mark be worth it?

Within a few pages I was hooked, this book had me missing TV programmes I usually watch religiously, that’s how much I couldn’t put it down. Claire is instantly likable as a main character, she’s soon giving a drenched Luca a lift home after not having the most polite first encounter, just out of the kindness of her own heart. She really is a ‘NiceGirl.’ I felt it was important to understand why Claire would want to run a blog where she’s being far from herself, and also to understand why she would then take the next step of trying to effectively become a bit more like ‘NiceGirl’ in real life and entering this deal with Luca. I got it. We learn enough about Claire’s quite mundane life, her lack of self-esteem but also her determination to succeed to set everything in context. We also learn enough about Luca, as we are also presented with his viewpoint throughout the novel to be confident Claire is not striking a deal with a complete idiot, even though he has plenty of moments. We can warm to him as readers even in the early stages when he is quite frankly a bit of a prat.

I knew from the synopsis/cover and through reading Frisky Business to expect a steamy novel, and of course it delivered on that front but without ever being over explicit or graphic, the ‘naughtier’ scenes were generally in the ‘blog’ extracts. This is a book which still sits very comfortably in the ‘chick lit’ genre I love without going the extra step into ‘erotic fiction’ that I don’t read. It’s a book which strikes the balance well, and that balance is tipped more towards Claire and Luca as people, both of which I enjoyed spending time getting to know.

I loved the families in this book. Claire’s Mum is great, one of the best Mum characters I’ve read; lovely, fragile, and ever so funny. They have a lovely relationship and I loved the scenes where Claire's Mum and her friends play cards. Luca’s family is also intriguing, he has a complex relationship with his mother that I enjoyed seeing develop in this novel. There is definitely a lot more to the novel than Claire just getting experience between the sheets. It’s a beautifully emotional book at times.

I flitted between thinking I knew how this book would end, then deciding I didn’t; thinking I knew how I wanted it to end, then changing my mind. The end was just what I wanted by the time I got there, apart from not wanting it to end at all. Another fantastic novel by Clodagh Murphy. Already looking forward to the next one!

Thanks to Hachette Ireland for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Clodagh Murphy:


Suus said...

I can't wait to read this book, it sounds really great!

Robin Driscoll said...

Your review makes me want to read this too. I have added it to my wish list!!

Preet said...

I love Clodagh's books! She's been consistently amazing and I love the that! I've been enchanted with her since I read The Disengagement Ring.