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Jennifer Greene – No More Mr. Nice Guy

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A person can change, but only if they want to.

Publisher: Carina Press
Pages: 120
Type: Fiction
Age: Adult
ISBN: 978-1-4268-9154-0
First Published: 1986
Date Reviewed: 5th May 2011
Rating: 3/5

Carroll loves Alan, but she wants more spontaneity in their relationship, more spark. Alan feels he’s losing Carroll and so quickly shakes up routine. But is it what Carroll really wants and is Alan happy enough to stay that way?

What I liked about this book, and something that is new to me in my recent foray into romance, is just how ordinary the characters are.

Reading a book written in the 1980s about a couple in the 1980s took a bit of getting used to because, having had the late 1990s as the time in my life when I really started noticing the world, reading about the 80’s fashions as being sexy was against everything I grew up hearing. But to have a book discuss a relationship without mobile phones or laptops, and with kettles whistling on the stove, was something that soon became a treat. As a society we know how much we rely on technology and a lot of us do yearn sometimes for the old days, so a book with an eternal theme and without the flat-screens was wonderful.

The story is just as ordinary as the characters, a person changing to try and win over the person they believe they are losing, and therefore the appeal is general. I expect most people would identify with it, at least to some extent. I know I did. But there were a few things that did irk me greatly.

One was the story, because it was so ordinary and simple I couldn’t help but feel it should have been shorter. I know that chick-lits can be the same but the writing style of this book favoured shortness, shorter than it’s 120 pages, and there weren’t enough different “episodes” to it. The other major issue I had was with the spelling of Carol as Carroll (really?) and the shortening of it to Caro, which just sounded weird.

There is character development but although in reality it would be considered important, on paper it came across as minor and was too quick, and I think I would’ve liked to read more about the couple’s relationship before Alan opted to change himself.

The changes themselves though, albeit extreme, I could well imagine. In fact being a woman who is completely thrown by sudden romantic gestures by an otherwise unromantic man, I related to it perfectly.

There could have been more in this story and the lack of secondary and tertiary genres definitely hindered it, but I will say that when compared to many romance authors (for I have started several books only to abandon them) Greene’s writing style is finer. There was a great little scene in which a fever (as in the sickness) creates a dream sequence for Carroll with Alan that was rather fun to read about, and the very end dialogue is great.

No More Mr. Nice Guy is a sweet story with a universal theme. It’s incredibly, incredibly ordinary, but that might just be the point.

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