All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Blog Tour Review: Girl In Between by Anna Daniels

on May 17, 2017

Girl In Between
Anna Daniels
Allen & Unwin
2017, 311p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

Lucy Crighton has just moved in with some gregarious housemates called Brian and Denise . . . who are her parents. She’s also the proud mother of Glenda, her beloved 10-year-old . . . kelpie. And she has absolutely no interest in the dashing son of her parents’ new next-door neighbour . . . well, maybe just a little.

When you’re the girl in between relationships, careers and cities, you sometimes have to face some uncomfortable truths . . . like your Mum’s obsession with Cher, your father’s unsolicited advice, and the fact there’s probably more cash on the floor of your parents’ car than in your own bank account.

Thank goodness Lucy’s crazy but wonderful best friend, Rosie, is around to cushion reality, with wild nights at the local Whipcrack hotel, escapades in Japanese mud baths, and double dating under the Christmas lights in London.

But will Lucy work out what she really wants to do in life and who she wants to share it with?

Girl in Between is a warm, upbeat and often hilarious story about life at the crossroads. Featuring an endearing and irrepressible cast of characters, it will have you chuckling from start to finish.

This debut from Anna Daniels takes the reader firstly to the Queensland town of Rockhampton where 32 year old Lucy Crighton has moved back in with her parents after a failed relationship. She’s broke and has decided that her future lies in writing the next great Australian novel so she’s taking some time to complete her first draft.

I’m a couple of years older than Lucy, not really enough to make a difference, so we’re kind of the same age but to be honest, it didn’t feel that way. It felt like Lucy read quite a bit younger than 32 – she seems directionless, like someone who had just graduated from university at 22 or so and didn’t know what to do next. Bumming around in her parent’s house, having to scrounge around in their loose change for enough money to go out and buy herself a coffee was sort of more sad than funny. I know that sometimes circumstances force people to go back rather than forward but for a large portion of the story Lucy seems content to just….drift like this. She doesn’t really look for work all that actively, she doesn’t look to move out or regain some independence. She is gifted a trip overseas and then goes to London because her best friend does. For a girl in between everything she sort of gets a lot of things.

There’s a romance running through this, it’s by far not a dominant part of the story and the good part is it doesn’t really define Lucy, nor does she sacrifice anything for it the way that she did in the past, giving up her job in television to follow her boyfriend only for him to break up with her. However I didn’t love the character of Oscar. At first he seems great but then something is revealed about him that changed my opinion of him. He drifts in and out of Lucy’s life as he visits his mother next door and then turns up when Lucy is living in London, seemingly finally getting her life together. It seemed like quite a selfish thing to do to be honest and didn’t endear him to me at all.

I did really enjoy quite a few of the supporting characters, especially Lucy’s parents who are believably quirky and quintessentially laid-back country Australian. A lot of the references and interactions in the parts set in Rockhampton are very Aussie – playing the drinking games with the clothesline, the references between QLD and NSW State of Origin rivalry. They’re the type of thing that almost every Australian is going to be familiar with and there’s a sort of comfort in that, seeing your own experiences recognised and realised on paper. To be honest, I didn’t dislike Lucy…..I found her frustrating at times but she was also quite endearing at times too. I couldn’t help but cheer for her in a way, I wanted her to find her true passion, to get herself back together because it just seemed like the more time she spent drifting, the more unraveled she became. Moving to London and working in a bookshop actually gave her a lot of grounding and it seemed like she was the most settled there. She found a tribe, fellow employees at the bookstore, one of the flatmates in her share house. I liked the time in London, it was probably my favourite part of the book.

I was in two minds about this book for nearly the whole time I was reading it. As I mentioned, I liked Lucy at times but she frustrated me as well and some of the humour wasn’t really my humour. I didn’t do any laughing out loud although the were a few amusing moments littered throughout. The idea of finding yourself is probably one that a lot of people can relate to but there were times when I thought Lucy was more waiting for things to find her, rather than attempting to find what she wanted for herself in a proactive manner. There were some good friendships and an interesting rivalry between Lucy’s mother and another woman in Rockhampton as well, which was something a bit different. But some of the core stuff didn’t really work for me and I was quite put off by some aspects of the romance.

Somewhere on the fence on this one! Didn’t love it but I didn’t dislike it either. I’d recommend it to Aussies who enjoy a bit of cultural humour.

6/10

Book #86 of 2017

Girl In Between is book #30 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge for 2017

This review is part of the Girl In Between blog tour. Make sure you check out the other stops on their relevant days!

Girl In Between is published by Allen & Unwin and available now, RRP $29.99

Follow author Anna Daniels on social media:

 

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