BlogBlitz #Review #NetGalley #TheShapeOfUs

Release Date:  27th November 2018 / Publisher:  Bookouture

If you read one book this year, make it this hilarious and emotional novel about love, loss and second chances. Fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely FineThe Note and Jojo Moyes will be utterly charmed by this unique love story.

One day in London…

Daisy is rushing to work when a stranger on a bicycle almost knocks her over – and then asks for her number.

Dylan, a teenage boy, lives with an illness which means he can’t leave his bedroom – but which hasn’t stopped him from falling hopelessly in love.

JoJo, a wife in her sixties, is trying desperately to win her beloved husband back from his mistress.

Adam has recently lost his job and lies to his housemate about where he goes every day.

These four total strangers – whose paths cross in the charming city of London – have one thing in common. They are all lonely souls looking for love. But what are the chances of them actually finding it?

An absolutely unputdownable, uplifting and unforgettable book-club read for anyone who has ever made a mistake, been broken-hearted, or waited by their phone for it to ring.

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My Review

This is the story about a group of strangers.  They are all having trouble with their love lives and don’t seem to have much luck with the rest of their lives either.  They all live in London – a city which is full of people and famed for its romantic ambience, yet they all feel like they are the loneliest people in the world.  This is the story of their lives and the ups and downs of finding love in one of the world’s busiest cities.

The first people we meet are Daisy and Chris.  They meet when Chris almost knocks Daisy over with his “Boris bike”. Persuading her to go out on a date, Chris falls head over heels with Daisy, but Daisy gives the impression that she doesn’t feel the same.  That is until the second date.  Walking hand in hand along the Thames and dancing till the early hours, Chris and Daisy begin to fall in love.  Everything goes swimmingly until Chris reveals a secret he has been hiding and Daisy reacts badly to it.

We also meet Adam Jiggins.  Adam has a good job, a nice place to live and has an addiction with the gym.  When he loses his job,Adam begins the pretence that everything is okay.  On the way home from the gym one evening he finds a security pass for a large financial firm in the city.  When he goes to return the pass, he decides to, instead, enter the building and this then begins a compulsion to return the next day and do it again and then again.  Adam begins to find that his life becomes one big lie.

Jojo is 63 years old.  She is having an affair….with her husband Frank.  Frank left Jojo when he himself was having an affair with Belinda but he has now discovered that he loves them both and doesn’t want to lose either of them.  Jojo figures that having him as a part time husband and lover is better than nothing, but deep down it’s not what she really wants.  She wants her husband back.

And finally, we meet Dylan Moon.  He’s a mixed race teenage boy with ME (or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as its otherwise known). He had dreams of being a travel blogger, but his condition has put paid to that.  Unable to leave the house, Dylan has a “therapist”, Janelle who makes him want to be a better person.  He begins to develop an infatuation with Janelle, but when she tells him she cannot come anymore, he realises how much he loved her.

I just knew when I read the synopsis for this book that I had to read it.  I was also told by someone that they thought this book would be right up my street, and how right they was.  The blurb gave an impression that London is a romantic city, and when you think of it like that films such as Notting  Hill, Love Actually and Bridget Jones all spring to mind where love blooms in one of the busiest cities in the world.  But, those films for me also brings to mind a feeling of sadness, where among all those millions of people you can feel like you are the loneliest person ever. This is exactly what this book is all about – a mixture of love and loneliness.

The characters are amazing.  Each one of them has their own history, and as the book moves on you find out more and more about them.  Their stories are all heart-breaking really, in their own different ways.  You can feel yourself being pulled deeper and deeper into their stories to the point that you just cannot put the book down.  Of course,you’re going to have your favourite character and for me it has to be Jojo.  I thought she was amazing, such a dignified woman not giving up the fight for what she wants and proving that it doesn’t matter how old you are it’s never too late for a second chance.  I loved all the characters though to be honest and there wasn’t one which I didn’t take to.

Whilst I appear to have painted a pretty bleak picture of what this book is about, it’s not all doom and gloom.  The book is full of love and romance and there are so many funny moments that I have sat and laughed my way through most of it!  I loved the images of Jojo in the‘Adult Store’ and thought that Dylan’s dad giving him the talk on the birds and the bees has to be the funniest thing I’ve read in such a long time (I’m also going to be using that speech on my son when the time is right!).

It’s had me in tears of laughter and in tears of sadness.  A completely mesmerising, heart-warming and unforgettable book!  Romantic, heart-breaking and life-affirming are just a few of the words I can use for this book.  I have been completely spellbound by it(which is why it’s took me less than 24 hours to read!)  Highly recommended – in fact, I’m off to read it all again!

The Author

Drew Davies was born in London and grew up in New Zealand. He attended the Unitec School of Performing Arts in Auckland and won a Playmarket New Zealand Young Playwright of the Year award in 2000. After a brief stint on a kiwi soap, he has worked in Search for the past 15 years. Drew’s other claim to fame is that Stephen Fry once called him droll. Either that, or he got his name wrong. He now lives in Wanstead, London. The Shape of Us is his first romantic comedy. 

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