Monday, 20 September 2010

Book Review: Single in the City by Michele Gorman.

Product details:
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd.
Paperback, 342 pages.
Release date: June 24th 2010.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Source: Received from publisher for review.

What happens when you take one 26 year old American, add to one 2,000 year old city, add a big dose of culture clash and stir?

Hannah Cumming and the population of London are about to find out.

How is Hannah to know that there's a special technique to crossing the street or riding a bus, or that words like tomato will elicit snide elocution lessions from the locals? Hannah lands alone in London only to find that she is totally ill-equipped to live there. Not that a complete lack of forethought has ever stopped her before. She charges headlong into London life, perplexing its residents with continual faux pas and cultural misunderstandings in her pursuit of a new life, new love and sense of herself. 

Single in the City was my first foray into chick-lit territory for quite a while, and I have to say, it was quite a lot of fun!  Michele Gorman has crafted a humorous tale, full of laughs, love,  friendship and dating disasters, all narrated by fashion-loving Hannah, a twenty-something American who has decided to move to London on a whim.

When we  first meet Hannah she has just landed in London and is feeling a little out of place to say the least! From ordering a sandwich at the deli to paying her bus fare, nothing is the same as it is back home.  Her top priorities are finding a job and a place to live.  Somehow or other she ends up in a pub instead (a cultural activity?!) and meets the gorgeous Mark, a man whom she promptly falls into bed with.  Happy ever after? Oh no, not for Hannah! What follows is a hilarious plot which sees Hannah jump from one dating disaster to another and land a job in which she finds herself dealing with the boss from hell. Throughout this, her friends are her sanctuary.  Frequent phone calls from her best friend Stacy back home, along with nights out with London friend Chloe, and long lunches with Irish girl Siobhan are what help her hold it all together through major man troubles and a tumultuous time at work .

Along with these friendships, one of my favourite parts of this book was finding out the differences between US and British cultures. Gorman is insightful and witty as she talks about the numerous differences between America and Britain.  For example, do you ever wonder why we constantly apologise in this part of the world? Somebody bumps into us on the street - we say sorry. Why is that? It’s something that has always annoyed me and I frequently stop myself from saying that I’m sorry for something that wasn’t my fault in the first place.  There are many more instances like this, often hilarious, as we learn along with Hannah all the little things that make up the many differences between the two cultures.

At times, Hannah’s constant pursuit of men made her seem a little needy and desperate to me, but that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy reading about her escapades.  They say you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you meet your prince, and in Hannah’s case that’s certainly true.  Will her time in London lead to a happy ever after for Hannah?  You’ll just have to read this book to find out!

Overall, Single in the City is a light, fun read.  It’s perfect for holiday reading, or if you just want a little escapism.  Hannah is an engaging character, and one you will warm to.  The men in this book were a little hit and miss for me (well, there is one guy who takes Hannah to the men’s singles final at Wimbledon, and anyone who knows me also  knows that I would marry him on the spot for that!), but it’s the girls and their friendships who are the best characters in this book.  I found the ending of the book a little abrupt, but that’s a minor gripe. Maybe I just wanted to keep reading about Hannah and her adventures!


  1. I didn't like this one very much, you're right when you say Hannah is man-crazy! Fab review, nevertheless!

  2. I thought this was pretty fun too, though could have lived without the footnotes!

  3. Have also not read a chick-lit book in a while, and this one sounds like a fun read. Great review as always. I'm always interested in reading about books where people have to adapt to a completely different culture. :-)

  4. sounds cute! bonus marks for the difference between american and british, cause sometimes I can't differentiate..

  5. The differences between the cultures were definitely interesting!

    Rhiana, I could have lived without the footnotes at times too, but some were funny. :)


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