Contemporary, Review

Jane of Manchester by J.G. Dow


Jane has to be the loneliest and most bored woman in existence. She is thirty and pretty, but it has been a year since her last boyfriend. She works for a florist who doesn’t particularly like her and she goes out for drinks with her friends several times a week for ‘Is this all there is?’ drinking. When she dines with her friends there is a lot of discussion about what to eat, what they like to eat, and agreement that they have never had such amazing food before. Every meal, except breakfast, inevitably has a delicious wine to discuss.

No wonder Jane is such a boring person. She hangs out with the most boring people imaginable. Even when one friend has a bridal party, interestingly called a hen-do, the women travel out-of-town and proceed to drink themselves silly for a weekend, expressing joy over the approaching wedding. One friend, Natasha, gets so drunk that she invites a young man to accompany her to the ladies’ room. Her friends are horrified, but somehow this action doesn’t appear to be the first time and won’t be the last.

Jane’s friends, and even her mother, begin mentioning how long it has been since Jane had a boyfriend, so she starts to give it serious consideration. After all, she needs a date for the wedding. Her mother’s neighbor, Dan, has recently broken up with his girlfriend, and according to her mother, Jane should give him the chance to prove himself boyfriend material.

The following week, pondering the attractiveness of Dan, she sees him on the sidewalk near her work. She stares. Then she notices Dan with a bunch of coworkers at her favorite drinking hole. He doesn’t see her and she decides not to call attention to herself by speaking to him. What if he doesn’t know who she is? Her friends egg her on, but Jane figures she needs to think about this for a while more. As she thinks on what to do, she does nothing.

This book was slow. The only reason I kept reading is that I found the British expressions fascinating. Some of the phrases are definitely different: totally cheesed off, feeling a bit knackered, wardrobe full of natty dresses, make a pot noodle for lunch, hen-do, etc. These make Americanisms sound down-right dull. I think the hardest part was slogging through all the drinking and the hangover headaches. They were in abundance. So, I find myself wanting to read more of these fun and interesting expressions, but in a different subject matter.

The grading:

  • Genre and general reading age – Contemporary. The reading age is difficult. I don’t think it would hold a teen’s attention.
  • Level of sexuality – Very little.
  • Is there graphic language? Yes, but it has to be read in context, otherwise you may wonder what the gist of ‘that!’ was.
  • Did I cry? No.
  • Did I laugh? No, but occasionally I smiled internally.
  • Is this part of a series? I haven’t heard of a sequel, but it has the best cliffhanger ever!
  • Level of character development – What you see is what you get.

Due to the incredible cliffhanger, I give this ⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars.

Available here on Amazon

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