Book Review: The Trial by Rob Rinder

When NetGalley offered me an ARC of Rob (Judge) Rinder’s debut novel, I jumped at the chance! Whilst I’d been aware of Judge Rinder on TV, I’d never watched an episode of his eponymous show (despite knowing someone who appeared in one #randomfact) – but really liked him on Strictly. I’ve also enjoyed his partnership with Susanna Reid as a guest presenter on Good Morning Britain (more of Susanna shortly!) and his eloquent campaigning on Twitter – so I had high expectations of the book.

For anyone not just tempted by the author – here’s the blurb:

“An unputdownable murder mystery by Britain’s best-loved criminal barrister Rob Rinder.
When hero policeman Grant Cliveden dies from a poisoning in the Old Bailey, it threatens to shake the country to its core.
The evidence points to one man. Jimmy Knight has been convicted of multiple offences before and defending him will be no easy task. Not least because this is trainee barrister Adam Green’s first case.
But it will quickly become clear that Jimmy Knight is not the only person in Cliveden’s past with an axe to grind.
The only thing that’s certain is that this is a trial which will push Adam – and the justice system itself – to the limit . . .”

The book is told from Adam Green’s point of view – he’s a Jewish trainee barrister – so the author is sticking with what he knows. Adam is a pupil at a London chambers – and is in competition with another pupil to be taken on as a permanent barrister – so there is a lot at stake with each case over and above how the client gets on.

The setting reminded me a lot of the BBC TV drama ‘Silks’ – and this is not a bad thing, as I loved the programme and was gutted when it was cancelled a decade ago. (Admittedly my love was potentially heightened because Rupert Penry-Jones is on my laminated list!) I’m guessing as both the TV series and this book are written by people with experience of the legal profession, every chambers has an aggressive Head Clerk who basically rules the roost, competitive pupils (with a love / hate relationship), slightly lazy but well connected senior barristers – and lots of ‘marketing’ (excessive drinking and copping off out of hours!)

Having had mostly dull boring straightforward cases – suddenly Adam finds himself in the midst of a murder trial and a financial fraud trial. Both of these are working for his pupil master Jonathan who is not a nice man! He might be a KC (I’m guessing there was a quick ‘find and replace’ QC with KC during the drafting process!) but he is lazy, rude, misogynistic, having multiple affairs and just a total slimeball. He also doesn’t seem bothered with elements of the case against their client, Jimmy Knight, who has been charged with the murder of a high flying policeman – Grant Cliveden.

Adam then does some digging of his own accord – and in his own limited time – into PC Cliveden and Jimmy Knight. The book therefore has a dual pronged story of the legal case itself – and Adam trying to prove what really happened. At the same time the chapters are interspersed with phonecalls between Adam and his mother. She’s busy letting herself into his flat to clean and provide homecooked food – and ‘suggest’ nice Jewish girls for him to marry! I really enjoyed this insight into Adam’s family, and the history between him and his parents is revealed as the book progresses.

It’s very clever and intricate (and I didn’t spot any inconsistencies, and I’m super anal about such stuff!) and has lots of references to current life – I particularly liked the reference to Susannah Reid being attractive, when I know she’s Rob’s Ibiza holidaying and celebrity Gogglebox partner!!

Overall it’s a great combination of legal drama / murder mystery / domestic story – all wrapped up together – and you were rooting for Adam throughout. A fantastic debut novel, and I’d really like to revisit Adam Green in books to come!

A huge thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and Judge Rob Rinder himself for this excellent book. It’s out in June 2023 and I would highly suggest you pre order it now.

Book Review: Yellowface by Rebecca F Kuang

I had seen ‘Yellowface’ being raved about – so was delighted to be given an ARC on NetGalley. Here’s the blurb:

Athena Liu is a literary darling and June Hayward is literally nobody.
White lies
When Athena dies in a freak accident, June steals her unpublished manuscript and publishes it as her own under the ambiguous name Juniper Song.
Dark humour
But as evidence threatens June’s stolen success, she will discover exactly how far she will go to keep what she thinks she deserves.
Deadly consequences…
What happens next is entirely everyone else’s fault.”

The book is told from June Hayward’s point of view – who rebrands herself under the pen name Juniper Song to be more ethnically ambiguous – and she is clearly an unreliable narrator, and not very likeable. In fact, I’m not sure any of the characters are pleasant at all.

June’s college ‘frenemy’ and far more successful writer, Athena, dies right in front of June – who then steals Athena’s most recent work that Athena says no one has yet seen. June / Juniper passes it off as her own and it’s published to great success. However then things start to unravel for June.

It’s a seemingly intense commentary on the publishing industry, social media, racism and unconscious bias, cancel culture and lots more.

This has loads of 5 star reviews on NetGalley – so clearly people are loving it – but it just didn’t hit the mark for me, but I suspect that’s more my problem than anyone else’s! I’m sure it will hit all of the best sellers lists when it’s released later this week.

Book Review: Call Time by Steve Jones

I was intrigued by the premise of Sliding Doors meets High Fidelity – and also keen to read something by Steve Jones who has been on my radar since the 90s. It was between downloading the book from NetGalley and reading it that I found out Steve Jones used to go out with The One Show presenter Alex Jones (not related, that would be weird / illegal) and poached an Angelina Jolie interview off her back in the day #randomfact. It also made me realise how few books I read written by blokes! Anyway – back to the book – here’s the full blurb:

Pre-order this enthralling debut novel from Channel 4 F1 presenter Steve Jones – it’s Sliding Doors meets High Fidelity.
Bob Bloomfield is, in the words of his best friend’s wife, a ‘selfish, arrogant a*sehole’, who hasn’t spent a great deal of time making friends in his 49 years on earth.But what if he could change? What if Bob could stop the very thing that has made him the man he is, the death of his younger brother, Tom in 1986. If he could save Tom, could he save himself?. . . And what if all it took was a phone call – to his childhood self?”

The book starts with Bob – a single bloke, exactly the same age as me, with a successful career but possibly less successful private life – living between his bachelor pad and a fancy office. He heads off to a colleague’s fancy dress party – and when getting the outfit for this party comes across a retro mobile – and this is the key to the phonecalls to the past.

What happens next is all pretty far fetched (but time travelling stories don’t tend to be ‘real life’!!) but makes you question if you could make a phonecall back in time to change something – what effects could that have on how other things, other people’s lives etc turn out?

There are then a few different entwined iterations of the story encompassing Bob / Robert and his family and friends (and someone who is a friend of sorts in one timeline and family in another!)

Whilst the original Bob is not very likeable, you definitely find yourself rooting for him as the book progresses.

It’s very clever and enjoyable. Overall a fun, escapist read.

Many thanks to the publisher and NetGallet for my ARC – it came out this week on 11 May 2023.

Book Review: Only Love Can Hurt Like This by Paige Toon

Neither of them expected to fall in love. But sometimes life has other plans.
When Wren realises her fiancé is in love with someone else, she thinks her heart will never recover.
On the other side of the world, Anders lost his wife four years ago and is still struggling to move on.
Wren hopes that spending the summer with her dad and step-family on their farm in Indiana will help her to heal. There, amid the cornfields and fireflies, she and Anders cross paths and their worlds are turned upside-down again.
But Wren doesn’t know that Anders is harbouring a secret, and if he acts on any feelings he has for Wren it will have serious fall-out for everyone.
Walking away would hurt Wren more than she can imagine. But, knowing the truth, how can she possibly stay?

I was offered this ARC by NetGalley and the comments by other authors I enjoyed meant I said ‘yes please’.

I hadn’t read, what I would call, a standard romantic comedy for the last few books – and I fancied an escapist read and I really enjoyed this from the off.

Initially Wren is in the UK – but when her engagement falls apart, she takes herself across the Atlantic to stay with her Dad and his ‘new’ family in Indiana. The descriptions of the American countryside are fantastic – and I could really visualise the setting (and want to go and visit!)

The relationships between Wren and her Dad and step family are explored – along with new friendships with the locals – especially the neighbours Anders and Jonas.

I was really enjoying this escapist read and then BOOM there’s a twist! I had to go back to see if I’d somehow missed the clues – and with hindsight you can see they’re there – but it came as a total shock, which I really liked and shows how clever the author has been. And no spoilers here! This really changed the book for me into something deeper than ‘just’ a romcom. (Although there is always space for a well written romcom in my world.)

The book twists and turns through the final chapters in a brilliant way – and the ending has a perfect element of deja vu.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book – and would definitely recommend you buy it when it’s out later this week.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my advance review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Lessons In Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

I am lucky enough to get to read lots of advance review copies of books – and consequently I sometimes miss books that have hit bestsellers lists. ‘Lessons In Chemistry’ was on my radar – not least because it featured on the Sara Cox TV programme ‘Between The Covers’ – but I’d never got round to buying it. I was then given it as a Mothers’ Day present! I thought my husband (or kids) had been super clever, and read back through my blog posts to see what I had or hadn’t reviewed – but seemingly it was a lucky suggestion from a lady in Waterstones Solihull!! Anyway – it was a very thoughtful gift, and it leapfrogged the contents of my TBR pile. Here’s the blurb:

Your ability to change everything – including yourself – starts here.
Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing.
But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute take a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans, the lonely, brilliant, Nobel-prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with – of all things – her mind. True chemistry results.
Like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later, Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show, Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (‘combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride’) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.”

The book starts with Elizabeth and her daughter Madeline at home – but then jumps back in time to when Elizabeth first met her soul mate – Calvin Evans. The descriptions of the Hastings Research Institute and it’s overtly sexist atmosphere was excellent. I also loved the rowing descriptions (whilst my kids don’t row – lots of their friends do – and there was lots of recognisable rowing shenanigans, and I found out why an erg is called an erg (a rowing machine to most of us, but a friend had mentioned the erg in their kitchen and I hadn’t had a clue what she meant)!)

The chapters then fill out the intervening period – and carries on with the story of Elizabeth and Mad.

Whilst the story is primarily about Elizabeth Zott and her fight against the patriarchy (although it’s never actually called that!) the supporting cast of characters such as the neighbour Harriet, whose husband is abusive, and the ‘secretary’ Miss Frask also have their own awakenings. I enjoyed all of this additional group of characters – and not just the women – but also the TV exec Walter Pine, the clergyman Wakeley – and, of course, the dog Six-Thirty.

Whilst in my own working life since the mid 90s – I’ve seen huge change in the attitude to working women, it’s shocking that in my own Mum’s working lifetime things were as described in this book – just totally unimaginable to young people today!

It was a great book – with a storyline I enjoyed, and at the same time well written, with interesting characters and lots to learn. It’s definitely worth all of the accolades it has received. I’ve just seen it’s being turned into a TV series by Apple – and I can see that being a massive hit too (although I’m already nervous as to whether it will do the book justice or not!) I would recommend reading the book first – in fact that is pretty much a motto for life!

Book Review: Friendaholic by Elizabeth Day

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Elizabeth’s previous books (both fiction and non fiction), and devour each episode of her ‘How To Fail’ and ‘Best Friend Therapy’ podcasts – so when I heard she had a new book out, I was delighted to be granted an advance review copy from NetGalley. Here’s the blurb:

As a society, there is a tendency to elevate romantic love. But what about friendships? Aren’t they just as – if not more – important? So why is it hard to find the right words to express what these uniquely complex bonds mean to us? In Friendaholic: Confessions of a Friendship Addict, Elizabeth Day embarks on a journey to answer these questions.
Growing up, Elizabeth wanted to make everyone like her. Lacking friends at school, she grew up to believe that quantity equalled quality. Having lots of friends meant you were loved, popular and safe. She was determined to become a Good Friend. And, in many ways, she did. But in adulthood she slowly realised that it was often to the detriment of her own boundaries and mental health.
Then, when a global pandemic hit in 2020, she was one of many who were forced to reassess what friendship really meant to them – with the crisis came a dawning realisation: her truest friends were not always the ones she had been spending most time with. Why was this? Could she rebalance it? Was there such thing as…too many friends? And was she really the friend she thought she was?
Friendaholic unpacks the significance and evolution of friendship. From exploring her own personal friendships and the distinct importance of each of them in her life, to the unique and powerful insights of others across the globe, Elizabeth asks why there isn’t yet a language that can express its crucial influence on our world.
From ghosting and frenemies to social media and seismic life events, Elizabeth leaves no stone unturned. Friendaholic is the book you buy for the people you love but it’s also the book you read to become a better friend to yourself.”

The book is a fabulous take on platonic friendship – combining Elizabeth’s own anecdotal experiences, research into the topic, interviews with friends, and other essays on friendship. It therefore gives a well rounded view of the topic – although primarily looks at the author’s own experiences.

I found it really interesting – not least because I definitely also used to subscribe to the ‘quantity equalled quality’ belief. And also, like Elizabeth, found the Covid pandemic and personal traumas (for Elizabeth her fertility journey, and for me a child with a chronic health condition) put some ‘friendships’ into question.

I enjoyed the references from a plethora of different sources – including ancient texts (my son is applying to do Classics as as degree, so I have a new found interest in ancient history from various University open days) and more recent research – which made the book feel ‘deeper’ than solely a memoir. One fact that stuck with me is that on average people change half of their friends every 7 years (something personally evidenced for me by considering the guest list for my 50th next year compared to my 40th nine years ago).

The chapter on Elizabeth’s quest to have a biological child was really moving (and was also published in The Times) and helpful about what to say – and not to say – to a friend in similar circumstances, or to be honest, any childless woman you talk to. Despite having 4 children myself – I really hope I’m not a tw*t when talking to people without children – but it did make me check my own fertility privilege.

Having listened to Elizabeth and her best friend Emma on their joint podcast ‘Best Friend Therapy’ – I really felt I could ‘hear’ their voices in the chapter where they discuss friendship together – and what a wonderful friendship they have.

As a whole, the book has really made me evaluate my current – and historic – friendships, and feel less ‘guilty’ for friends I have drifted apart from. As Elizabeth says, why should we expect friendships to be ‘forever’ – some are for different times in your life, and that’s fine – and you can remember them fondly without considering them a failure (bringing in the old ‘How To Fail’ strand of Elizabeth’s career as well!)

A lovely non fiction book – that I’d recommend to all of my friends (and ex friends, and frenemies, and social media only friends etc etc!!)

Many thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and Elizabeth for my ARC. It’s out TODAY (30 March 2023)

Book Review: Maybe Next Time by Cesca Major

“Emma is having the worst day of her life. Frustrating. Chaotic. And the only person who could make it better is gone by the
end of the day.
Yet even worse than all of that: Emma keeps waking up to the same day, over and over again.
But what if this is a sign things could be different? Can Emma change the heartbreaking end to this love story?”

I requested this off NetGalley after Sarah Turner / The UnMumsy Mum recommended it and was excited to receive an ARC. However having recently read another ‘Groundhog Day’ referenced book, I was nervous it was going to be a bit ‘samey’ – but I need not have been concerned. It’s not often I dish out 5 stars on NetGalley – but this is definitely one of those times, for a completely unique book.

The first 25% is ‘the day’ in question – and Emma is a typical multi tasking working Mum – and it is written so very, very well. The juggle of husband, kids, work, friends, volunteering – not necessarily in that order – is ever consuming, and feels so like my life. Trying to be everything to everyone, but feeling like you’re not quite getting anything right! I don’t feel I’ve ever read another book that so perfectly captures the manic Mum vibe.

‘The day’ is also Emma and her husband Dan’s anniversary of meeting – and they have a tradition of writing to each other on that day – which only adds to Emma’s stress levels.

Initially the day has a tragic ending – again incredibly well written and very moving. But when Emma wakes up the next morning, she’s gone back in time by 24 hours, much to her utter confusion. Emma then gets to live the day again – and sees what she can – or can’t – change. However, by bedtime the tragic ending has happened again,

Thus starts the Groundhog Day scenario.

Each re-start to the day is separated by one of Dan’s historic anniversary letters – which means you get to learn lots of the back story of Emma and Dan’s relationship, marriage, kids, family connections etc. Dan had a very different ‘voice’ to Emma – another example of the excellent writing (I’m sounding like a bit of a fangirl, aren’t I?!)

As the different days pan out, Emma deals with the situation in different ways – which were interesting to read – and did make me think, what would I do?

The book feels fresh and up to date – with the use of WhatsApp groups and such like – and I love that I noticed the sneaky Easter Egg, where Emma is giving someone a pile of audio books – and one of them is a book Cesca Major wrote under a pseudonym – I very much enjoyed that!

I’m not going to ruin the end – strictly a spoiler free zone – but I LOVED it. I thought the ending was perfectly done.

I know it’s only February – but I feel this will definitely be up there as one of my books of 2023 come December.

A massive thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for my ARC – and Cesca Major for such an wonderful book. It’s out in March – and I would highly recommend you pre order it now ready for Easter long weekend!

Book Review: A Heart That Works by Rob Delaney

Unfortunately I know more about brain tumours that I would like, after our family friend Finlay died of a glioblastoma when he was 11 years old, and sadly I know of a few adults who have died from the same cancer. Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer. What a sh*t club to be in.

Rob Delaney and his family know even more close hand what b*stards brain tumours are after their third son, Henry, was diagnosed with a brain tumour when just a year old. Here is the blurb about the book Rob has written about their experience:

“In this memoir of loss, acclaimed writer and comedian Rob Delaney grapples with the fragile miracle of life, the mysteries of death, and the question of purpose for those left behind.
When you’re a parent and your child gets hurt or sick, you not only try to help them get better but you also labour under the general belief that you can help them get better. That’s not always the case though. Sometimes the nurses and the doctors can’t fix what’s wrong. Sometimes children die.
Rob Delaney’s beautiful, bright, gloriously alive son Henry died. He was one when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour. An experience beyond comprehension, but an experience Rob must share. Why does he feel compelled to talk about it, to write about it, to make people feel something like what he feels when he knows it will hurt them? Because, despite Henry’s death, Rob still loves people. For that reason, he wants them to understand.
A Heart That Works is an intimate, unflinching and fiercely funny exploration of loss – from the harrowing illness to the vivid, bodily impact of grief and the blind, furious rage that follows, through to the forceful, unstoppable love that remains.
This is the story of what happens when you lose a child, and everything you discover about life in the process.

The book is not an exact chronology of what happened to Henry – and you know from the start that the outcome was his death – but it is incredibly moving throughout. It’s also, at times, funny and written with the dark humour (and swearing!) you’d expect from Rob Delaney. Who knew that the pronunciation of the word ‘giraffe’ would be a stumbling block for Henry’s parents during his treatment?

The knock on effect on the whole family, Henry’s brothers, the extended family – and their friends and Henry’s carers is also discussed. Rob’s family were going through so much other sh*t at the same time on the other side of the Atlantic – it was just awful – but they supported each other throughout.

Whilst there were many similarities with Fin’s story – this is very much Henry’s story. Henry’s family were keen to support charities helping families going through similar situations with immediate help to care for the sick child and their siblings – whereas Fin’s family have raised thousands to support both Birmingham Children’s Hospital where Fin was treated – and also Brain Tumour Research, because historically brain tumours have received less than 1% of the total cancer spend. All of these charities are equally valid and equally needed.

As a parent – this was a hard read – but I think it would be a very useful, if emotional, read for parents going through something similar. It also reemphasised to me the need to be careful around language when people have cancer. It’s not a ‘battle’ – because that implies the sufferer needs to fight hard to try and ‘beat’ the cancer – when sometimes it doesn’t matter how hard the person fights, it’s never going to be enough – because cancer is f*cking sh*t. There’s lots of other thought provoking things too – I really would recommend this book to everyone.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my review copy in exchange for an honest review. But mostly, thank you to Rob and his family for sharing Henry’s story with the world.

Book Review: The Vintage Shop of Second Chances by Libby Page

It is said that you should never judge a book by its cover – but I’m about to be really judgy about book titles! I have to confess if something says ‘vintage’ or ‘shop’ or even worse ‘vintage teashop / teashoppe’ – then it is likely to be a no from me before even reading it. However, having adored Libby Page’s previous books – I decided to give this vintage shop a chance, and I am very pleased I did.

Here’s the blurb:

“Among the cobbled streets of the Somerset town of Frome, Lou is embarking on the start of something new. After the death of her beloved mother, she takes a deep breath into the unknown and is opening her own vintage clothes shop.
In upstate New York, Donna has just found out some news about her family which has called into question her whole upbringing. The only clue she has to unlock her past is a picture of a yellow dress, and the fact it is currently on display in a shop in England.
For Maggy, she is facing life as a 70-something divorcee and while she got the house, she’s not sure what to fill it with now her family have moved out. The new vintage shop in town sparks memories of her past and reignites a passion she’s been missing…
Together, can these three women find the answers they are searching for and unlock a second chance at a new life?”

You are initially following the stories of Lou, Donna and Maggy – and a girl in a yellow dress (but you don’t know her name) – and the stories are separate, but then start to entwine. The relationship between 20 something Lou and 70 something Maggy reminded me very much of Libby Page’s debut novel, The Lido, and the connection in that book between Kate and Rosemary – just lovely.

Whilst the ladies are the main characters, there are a supporting cast of family and friends – and potential love interests – but the book fundamentally revolves around female friendship in the midst of family upheavals of different sorts.

It’s beautifully written, captures emotions and relationships well, and has enough twists and turns to not be too predictable.

The descriptions of Somerset and the East coast of the US – are both done well and make you feel like you’re there.

There is minimal sex (all tastefully written), no drugs (apart from glasses of wine) and not quite rock and roll (but there is a band playing at a party) – and is just really ‘nice’.

A lovely, gentle, escapist read – and out in February 2023.

A big thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for my ARC.

Book Review: The Good Drinker: How I Learned to Love Drinking Less by Adrian Chiles

I heard Adrian talking about this book on the Parenting Hell podcast (coincidentally, as a parent of teenagers, it was a bloody brilliant episode – and had me in floods of tears when talking about the fact you pack your child off to Uni telling them ‘it’s going to be the best time of your life’ – and actually it can be really tough, especially at the start, being dumped in a random place with random people and expected to make friends for life and have an amazing time. Can you tell I’d just a few months earlier dropped my eldest at Uni?!?)

Anyway – back to the book! It sounded really interesting. I have a number of friends who have given up alcohol completely, and had various mental health issues entwined with alcohol issues (although none were lying in a doorstep alcoholics, cracking open the vodka at breakfast) but at the same time I didn’t feel my husband and I had ‘that much of a problem’. I can freely admit that both of us drink far more than the recommended limits – and definitely when on holiday would be up at a level similar to Adrian’s historic levels. Only recently someone reported, in hushed and shocked tones, that a relative going through a trauma had drunk a litre bottle of vodka – and I asked ‘over what time period?’ – thinking that on a day on holiday with wine starting at lunchtime, pushing through the afternoon with a beer in the sunshine, cocktails before dinner, and yet more wine with dinner – it probably wasn’t dissimilar units wise.

But ‘of course I don’t have a problem’.

I don’t drink every night.
I can do Dry January (although I prefer Sober October as January is sh*t enough).
I drink posh gins, expensive wine and champagne not cheap cider.
When our daughter was seriously ill (suspected leukaemia initially, and then diagnosed with an auto immune disease) I gave up completely as I knew it was all or nothing at a time of stress- and dealing with sleepless nights and a hangover would have been horrific.
However I don’t often get hangovers (although when I do they are awful in my 40s!).
I rarely vomit from alcohol consumption (and last time I did, I’m sure there was something wrong with the coffee beans in the espresso martinis, it wasn’t the volume of booze!).
I’ve never woken up in the morning needing a hair of the dog.
I’m carrying extra weight – but otherwise my recent health check was absolutely fine.
I manage to run a successful business and a family of four, so I can’t be doing that much damage to myself.
I can easily go out for dinner with friends and be the designated driver and not drink.
I enjoy drinking with my friends and family.
I can always recite the quadratic equation formula to prove I’m sober (this was my party trick during sixth form and uni – I did a maths degree, so can be excused for being a total geek!)
I would never drink and drive.
A matching drinks flight to a taster menu in a lovely restaurant is one of life’s fabulous luxuries.
You can’t turn down a free drink.

This whole list reads like one of the chapters in the book…….. #excuses

So – here’s the blurb:

The popular broadcaster and columnist sets out to discover the unsung pleasures of drinking in moderation.
The recommended alcohol limit is 14 units a week. Adrian Chiles used to put away almost 100. Ever since he was a teenager, drinking was his idea of a good time – and not just his, but seemingly the whole nation’s. Still, it wasn’t very good for him: the doctor made that clear. If you lined them up, Adrian must have knocked back three miles of drinks. How many of them had he genuinely wanted? A mile?
There’s an awful lot of advice out there on how to quit booze completely. If you just want to drink a bit less, the pickings are slim. Yet while the alcohol industry depends on a minority of problem drinkers, the majority really do enjoy in moderation. What’s their secret? Join the inimitable Chiles as he sets out around Britain and plumbs his only slightly fuzzy memories of a lifetime in pubs in a quest to find the good drinker within.”

Firstly I love Adrian – and you can ‘hear’ his voice in the writing which I really enjoyed (and not just because we have a similar accent, although I have been known to take issue with people who call him a ‘Brummie’!!)

It’s a really good mix of being informative, factual – but not preachy – and most definitely not ‘it’s my way or the highway’. He recognises that for some people complete abstinence is the only option. However, he also points out that a lot of people who drink a lot are put off by the thought of total abstinence – and therefore don’t bother looking at their drinking levels at all, because moderate drinking isn’t often deemed an option. There are loads of books about quitting the booze completely – but not many about just cutting down and not being a ‘heavy’ drinker.

As Adrian says in the book – alcohol is the only drug you have to explain why you’re NOT taking it! When I’ve not been drinking at some points I’ve had friends say ‘Oh, let me know when you’re drinking again, and then we can go out’ – as if somehow not drinking alcohol precludes having a night out?

It really did give me food for thought – in a good way – and I have been waxing lyrical to friends (over drinks!) about it ever since I finished it over the Christmas holidays. The combination of facts and anecdotes means it’s an interesting and amusing read and I plan to follow Adrian’s example and be more mindful about what I consume alcohol-wise going forwards. For now it’s ‘damp’ January in the Price household.