Dave Harding's got a wonderful wife, a beautiful home, and a job he could do in his sleep... So no one is more surprised than Dave when he hears his own biological clock start ticking. Loudly. Unfortunately, his better half, Izzy, has no nine-month plan for fat ankles or a credit line at Baby Gap. With even worse timing, the music magazine Dave writes for folds. Desperate for work, he's forced to become an advice columnist for a teen magazine. But he's about to get a serious wake-up call. Wading through letter after letter of adolescent angst is the last thing Dave wants to do, especially since he could use some help dealing with his own. But one letter is about to make all his little problems disappear -- and replace them with one big one. The letter is from a teenage girl named Nicola. But she doesn't need advice about boys, or friends, or the latest fads. She's looking for her father, whom she's never met. She's looking for a man to call Dad. She's looking for Dave.
Review: I really enjoy novels by this author, this will be the third novels I've read and I have others sitting on my shelves. I tend to read his novels in audiobook form and they are always narrated really well even though they've all been read by different people! This writer usually delivers a good dose of humour in his novels, and this was no different, it had me laughing out loud at several points and the general witty tone continues right the way through.
I like the idea for this storyline, someone in a relationship where one of them wants and child and the other doesn't and then he discovers that he has a child from a previous encounter. The general lace of the novel started off really well but from about the midpoint until just before the ending, it really slowed down, making it a little difficult to see where it was going. It was as if there had either been a break in writing, or else this part had been added in afterwards... Overall though I thought the story was to,d really well and I didn't know how it was going to end until literally the last moment. A great way to end a novel.
The character of Dave was quite interesting. He seems like a genuinely nice bloke, but over the course of the novel he does make some bad choices and so I really didn't know whether to like him or not. I think overall I did warm to him, based on his character profile in the beginning of the novel. We get to hear some of the articles he is writing for work and he is genuinely a funny guy with a heart of gold. I loved his wife's character up until her kind of turning point in the middle. Again she made some choices that made me a little uncomfortable, that I didn't really think she would make and this made me dislike her just a little bit! Dave's daughter, Nicola, is a lovely character, she is kind and generous. Her level of trust that she out in Dave, a near stranger, did make me a little uncomfortable though, but I do have to remember that this was written a few years ago when society was generally a more trusting place.
Despite the fact that I've picked apart the characters and the pace a little, I genuinely thought this was a really fun read. It was just he perfect length and I am glad I heard Daves story. The ending is brilliant and this is definitely something that will appeal to a range of audiences. If you are a Mike Gayle fan, you will enjoy this novel and if you are new to his writing, this is an excellent indicator of the kind of humour and warmth that you can expect from his other novels.