Reviewed by Cesca Martin
Hoity-toity high-flyer Katherine Casey has been working at Qwertec Solutions for a while and appears to be going from strength to strength in her career. In fact she even helped the boss draw up a list of potential people to fire. So when she is summoned into the office and made redundant she is reeling from the shock of it all and ends up in the pub with a small group of her ex-colleagues. There is Jamie (brash, gay and opinionated), Martin (the easy-going joker of the group who harbours a crush on our fair heroine) and Lisa (a harried mother of three). The mood is sombre, but then a few drinks later ‘The Forced Redundancy Film Club’ is formed. Once a month these misfits meet and watch a movie together. We follow their different stories as they try to find their feet and hope ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’...
This book was easy to read and at the start I was a little relieved by this thought. I didn’t like Katherine, or Alice (the office loner), or Jamie... Katherine was uptight, Alice was plain weird, Jamie was SOOO selfish and yet, I kept reading. I started to realise the very fact that they were so flawed, and often pulled each other up for the very things I didn’t like about them (this is no warm, fuzzy group of comrades), made me like the book a lot more. I raced through it wanting to know if Alice would become less weird, if Jamie would ever wake up and smell the coffee (slash smell how LOVELY his boyfriend was) and if Katherine would just CHILL OUT. Apologies for all the capital letters, but really these characters did this to me. They were frustrating, annoying, entertaining and very, very REAL.
I enjoyed the movie references, the little quotes at the start, but for me the film chat amongst the characters was actually the least interesting part of the book. Saying that, I imagine film buffs (see: Amanda of Novelicious fame) will find these bits the most fascinating. Finnegan throws in a few interesting facts (silent dialogue in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, theories about ‘The Wizard of Oz’ that would confuse children etc). This book is a little different from others in a similar genre, it is edgier and dark in parts. The love story is suitably tantalising and the bunch of misfits become a bunch you would want to hang around. There are some great villains (Saeed, Saeed, oh and the GHASTLY Barry) as well as some gorgeous heroes (I just adored Andrew and Martin). I thoroughly enjoyed this debut from Brian Finnegan and look forward to hearing about his next read.
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