Book Review: My Single Friend by Jane Costello

For 28-year-old Lucy things are going well, mostly. She has a fabulous job, two great friends Dominique and Erin, and shares a flat with her best friend of twenty years, Henry. But prone to embellishing her talents and interests to potential love interests, her dates usually end up in disaster.

With her own love life going nowhere fast, Lucy decides that loveable but geeky Henry needs some help with his and takes it upon herself to give him a make, transforming him into a love god. Success isn’t as sweet as she imagined though. Now Henry is officially the most eligible bachelor in Liverpool with women queuing up for a date, Lucy wonders what she’s done. To top it all, someone also seems to have it in for her at work and not only is she at risk of loosing her oldest friend, but her career too.

I haven’t read any of Jane Costello’s previous books, but My Single Friend caught my eye and I thought it looked like a light, cute and fun read. And that’s exactly what it is!

Lucy is an adorable character and I liked her straight away. The exaggerating she does on her dates is outrageous but hilarious! I wanted to scream stop now! at her before she went too far, but each new ‘embellishment’ lead from one lie to another ending up cringe worthily funny. One particular scene had me roaring with laughter, as I could absolutely see it happening in real life too. I think what is so funny about Lucy is that there is something recognisable in her. We’ve all wanted to make ourselves seem more interesting or talented at times, and we’ve probably also been caught out once or twice too, though granted there are probably few as extreme as Lucy! We know Lucy needs to just be happy and ok with just being her self and so she becomes immensely appealing.

I also really liked Henry (I wish I had a friend like him!) and enjoyed the relationship between the two. In particular I liked the frequent flashbacks to their childhood. This gave a real sense of depth and history between them and made their friendship all the more believable. It also gives us more of an insight, as to begin with, their adult relationship seems all one sided and the feeling is that Lucy may just be taking advantage of his good nature.

As well as these two fabulous main characters, there’s also a host of other minor characters that, despite playing a smaller role in the book, have their own little stories. Lucy’s mum really interested me. Rather than the slightly ridiculous and shallow middle class stereotype, often reserved for the role of main character’s mother in this genre, she’s down to earth, hard working and slightly resentful. I thought that even though she played a very small role in the book, she was solid and authentic. I really liked her, and could see beyond the huge chip on her shoulder.

My Single Friend isn’t the most original book out there. I knew before I even started how it was going to end, but the journey there is fun and with enough twists to make me wonder if I would be proved wrong after all. Jane Costello’s writing is easy, entertaining, funny and engaging. I thought the beginning was a little on the slow side, but after a few chapters the pace really picked up and the pages flew by. I was worried that Lucy’s interest in Henry’s appearance would make this really shallow, but the message I got from the book was more about not realisng what you have until it’s gone. It ticks every box for a great girly read and is ideal for by the poolside, lazy weekends or when you just want to read something fun and light. I’d certainly recommend it and will look out for more from Costello in the future.