Dave Wilson is a London barman who, in late December 1995, sifts through telephone numbers accumulated during the year. Each chapter tells the story behind one number. He joins a band of people who wear pink underwear every Friday, goes to sea in a collier, helps a client sell his invention, takes a sick woman to hospital and has other adventures. He becomes friendly with a less than honest policeman, and flies to New York where he falls for an unobtainable woman. There are stories of Christmas parties and egotistical celebrities. Humour weaves through this collection of slices from different lives. (taken from Amazon)
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review. This will be available for purchase on July first.
First: I loved the idea for this book! Having several stories all told from the point of view of a barman in a pub is such a clever idea. There’s so much that could be done with that. Really, the sky’s the limit (literally; there could be a story involving a pilot; but I digress). The thing is…this book didn’t deliver.
In the beginning of the book, you see Dave- the main character- going through receipts, napkins, etc, that he’s gotten while working at a pub over the years. The book continues by detailing where each number came from. The numbers themselves come from an array of characters: a less-than-moral cop, a woman on a train to Scotland, a member of the PUFFS (Pink Underwear For Friday) club. But, still, the book didn’t go anywhere.
The problem is, Dave isn’t likable at all. He thinks with only one head, and it isn’t the one on his shoulders. It felt very cliche to have a main character whose sole goal in life was to hook up. There were so many excellent set-ups too, but ninety percent of them just turned into a story detailing the beginning of a short-lived relationship. For example, there’s a story in which he rides with a sick woman to the hospital–which turns into a hookup. In another story, Dave meets Captain Sam, a woman who runs a ship—it turns into a hookup. See where I’m going with this? I kept getting distracted, thinking of all the std’s Dave probably had.
I was so disappointed because this book could have been so much and it just wasn’t. The writing style is solid, but the descriptions were lacking (how many times can you mention a woman’s curvy calves or cleavage without it getting old?), and it just wasn’t for me. I do hope that Mr. Lingard continues to write, but I doubt I’ll read anything of his in the future.