Izzy in a tizzy but author's heart not in genre


BOOK OF THE DAY: JEANANNE CROWLEYreviews Hello, Heartbreakby Amy Huberman Penguin Ireland 300pp, €14.99

OUR HEROINE’S name is Izzy and she works in such a junior capacity for a film company making a low-budget movie called Snog Me Now You Dublin Whore that out of sheer boredom she occasionally resorts to flushing her boss’s lunch down the loo.

Luckily she has a hidden talent that her friend and colleague Gavin (with ambitions to be a fully fledged documentary maker) recognises even if Izzy doesn’t.

Gavin happens to have a super-chilled girlfriend called Kate who is practically a fully qualified doctor and whom Izzy loves almost as much as she loves Gavin, she tells us, because this novel is writ in the first-person singular, so we get to know Izzy really really well.

She’s a bit of a Bridget Jones really, particularly as, after being dumped by the man she adores, she ends up making a complete fool of herself in a nightclub where even she admits that the one he’s fallen for is a total ride.

Rejected and embarrassed, poor Izzy dives under the duvet and resorts to a diet of Blue Nun, Tayto and Westlife to cope with this A1 boyfriend-stealer who not only has the nerve to call her “cute” but has posted their drunken confrontation on Facebook.

Her mother suggests sweet tea but her flatmates Susie and Keelin beg to differ. But we’re in a bit of bind here because our heroine is all of 27 and unless she finds True Love soon, well, she’ll end up feeling like roadkill for the rest of her natural, won’t she?

Anyhow, not to lose the plot, the soundtrack or the popcorn, Susie’s boyfriend Aiden is a complete dork with a hugely annoying inner-city accent (euch) when he actually hails from, like, Dalkey and went to a Really Good School. But thanks to him and his low-life mates, the girls end up getting busted and thus Izzy has to take refuge in Gavin’s flat, which pisses Kate off no end, only Izzy doesn’t seem to get it as she’s being happily distracted by Jonathan, an incredibly hot man who has seen her fall backwards into a bath with her jeans half-way down her thighs, which is just so embarrassing as she hasn’t had a bikini wax since the Before Era when the boyfriend dumped her for that walking cliche who is now (can you believe it?) about to star in Snog Me Now You Dublin Whore, which in turn means that our Izzy is going to have to fetch skinny lattes for her whenever she snaps her fingers!

I hope you’re all following this. It’s all too much for the girl – and for me too, may I add.

Obviously I’m too bleedin’ old to relate to a genre that leaves me woefully puzzled as to why sexual intimacy, a given in the narrative, remains so entirely unexplored. This is Mills Boon with the knickers on even though it aspires to be something else entirely.

Not to knock the author – and to her credit her intended, Brian O’Driscoll, only gets one name check – but all the same I’d suggest it’s well-nigh impossible to satirise a milieu one knows well, and her attempts to do so fall a wee bit flat. The heart isn’t in it. However, her dialogue is excellent and the thrust of the story, predictable and all though it is, carries you along as any tale based on romantic longing and the hope for a happy ending will. All very well to attempt Mills Boon with a modern twist but it seems a little unfair to portray loads of drink and the occasional one-night stand as a possible path to Future Happiness when the author herself probably only has a glass of white wine on occasion and pens this acknowledgement: “Sometimes you’ve got to save the best for last. So thank you to my fiance, Brian, My one and only, always.” Puhlease!

Jeananne Crowley is an actor and writer