2013 (originally 2012), 365p
Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster AU
Caroline has just moved into an amazing new apartment in San Francisco and is looking forward to a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, her close neighbour seems to have…other ideas. For three nights in a row, the super thin walls clue Caroline in to her neighbour Simon’s nocturnal activities, which include very loud wallbanging with his lady friends. Three different nights, three different ladies, all of whom have some identifying feature and scream their approval for Simon’s methods very loudly.
One night, Caroline has had enough. She storms out of bed and goes and bangs on the Wallbanger’s door to give him a royal ticking off about keeping her up so late at night. Unfortunately, that gets her her first good look at the gorgeous Simon and from then on, it might not be the noises that are keeping her awake – it’s her own fantasies about her neighbour. It’s been a while between drinks for Caroline and she already knows that Simon can deliver the goods!
Things are complicated further when Caroline and her two friends go to a housewarming party for Caroline’s boss Jillian and Jillian’s fiance Benjamin. They are introduced to several friends of Benjamin’s, one of which just happens to be…Simon. Now Simon and Caroline are drawn into the same social circle and it provides much amusement for their friends when they realise Simon is Wallbanger and Caroline is Pink Nightie Girl, named for her skimpy attire the night she banged on Simon’s door to tell him to knock it off.
The chemistry between Simon and Caroline is sizzling…their banter easily playing into something else entirely. But Simon doesn’t do relationships and although Caroline isn’t ready for the ‘burbs with a picket fence and the 2.4 children, she isn’t the sort to share.
Wallbanger is a funny book – absolutely no doubt about that. It had me giggling to myself on the couch almost the entire time. I really enjoyed all of the characters: Caroline, Simon and all of their friends. Caroline is an interior designer who works helping people design their perfect homes and spaces. She’s just rented a new apartment and it’s perfect in almost every way – except for the nighttime activities of her neighbour Simon who has a bevy of all very loud lady friends!
From the moment she storms over to bang on Simon’s door after several nights of interrupted sleep, the chemistry between Simon and Caroline is awesome. It’s obvious they’re severely attracted to each other. Caroline has been experiencing a “drought” in terms of her love life but she and Simon have pretty different ideas about what they want. Simon is a photographer, flying around the world to exotic locations to shoot beautiful scenery. He’s not in the right place for a relationship – in his experience, women don’t want a man who is constantly disappearing. He’s pretty happy with his three casual friends. Maximum pleasure, minimum effort.
What I love love about this book is that Simon and Caroline become friends. They hang out in each other’s apartments (mostly Caroline’s), they cook dinner together, they watch movies, they see their other friends who are mixed up in some dating problems of their own. They spend an awful lot of time together and even though it’s obvious they both want each other, they don’t act upon it. They get to know each other, they talk, they share things about their lives. It was so damn refreshing to see a couple do this! I’ve read so much lately in the way of insta-love and insta-desire where people jump straight into sex in the first three minutes, without even knowing the first thing about each other. Watching Simon and Caroline become friends was fabulous. And the more they got to know each other, the more their attraction for each other strengthened and the harder it got to resist. But still, they did. Because they wanted different things and they had to work through that. Simon began to realise that while he had fun with his women friends and they had great arrangements where no one got hurt, what he could have with Caroline might just be more rewarding than that.
There’s only one real negative side to Wallbanger. Caroline’s last sexual experience sapped her of her ability to find the ‘big O’ and her constant internal monologue talking to her orgasm like it was an actual physical being(?) was a bit weird. Towards the end of the book it became a real plot point and it became almost obsessive and a bit annoying. She was really harping on about it, like it was the most important thing in the world, which kind of irritated me. It dwarfed the connection that she and Simon were beginning to establish (had established) and it went on for a lot longer than it should have. I appreciate the fact that she’s a woman who knows what she wants and enjoys the pleasure she derives from sex (or self-pleasuring) but really. Talking to your lost orgasm for pages and pages, playing out scenarios in your head where you attempt to “catch it” is really a bit ridiculous.
That aside, I loved this book. It was smart, funny, well written and really stood out to me. It’s the sort of book I can see myself picking up again in the future when I know I just want something to read that I already know is light, funny, sexy but not without depth. Perfect re-read material.
Book #241 of 2013