Saturday, March 13

Boyfriend in a Dress - Louise Kean

Nicola and Charlie have been together since they met in the US during a student exchange program - both from the UK, they bonded over similarities and didn't really notice the differences. Though they both recognise it - they live in separate apartments, and she turns a bling eye to his indiscreet indiscretions - neither is prepared to confront their relationship issues. Well, until Nicola discovers Charlie at a lap dancing bar with a group of mates - she went there for a laugh, but he seems quite serious, lied to her, and humiliated her in front of her friends.
Determined to end it, she arrives home one afternoon, only to find Charlie crying and wearing her blue lycra dress. Torn between pity, dispair and affection for what they used to have, Nicola takes Charlie away from London so he can sort himself out.
Although I finished Boyfriend in a Dress, I cannot tell you why. I found both Charlie and Nicola profoundly irritating - there was no softness or affection, and I have no idea why they got together in the first place, let alone stayed together. The plot meandered in a pointless (rather than scenic) way, and the frequent flashbacks to America were overblown and unsubtle. Nicola's narration was waspish and ascerbic, and I kept thinking how little I'd like to meet her, while Charlie was charmless and borish. Perhaps I missed the greatness - the back quotes include: "brilliant observed," "compelling," "provocative" and "a cracking read." Not for me. - Alex

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