Friday, 26 July 2013

Review: Build a Man

When I  started reading the book I was sceptical. Drama and romance make up the majority of chick lit and I've never been a great fancy of either unless they're accompanied by fabulous fantasy or a good dose of horror. After a while drama and romance all start to seem the same when you break the components down. There are formulas that work - readers like them - and they stick. I started reading Build a Man by Talli Roland thinking this book would be predictable and a sign that, yes, these aren't really my type of books. Yawn. However, the last 30% of the book had me tapping my screen like crazy (I use the Kindle App so no thumbing pages for me). I spent a good few hours reading without interruption because I want to know what happens. As a realist and part time pessimist I could believe that there was a (slim) chance that there might not be a happy ending. After a while happy endings just become so samey, as though in fiction land everything is always perfect with a happy-ever-after ending and I find that a little depressing because real live doesn't work that way. Nevertheless, this happy ending didn't disappoint me. Serenity made some massive mistakes and in a way she 'paid' for them. But more importantly she learned from her mistakes. Her shallow dreams of being a tabloid writer disappeared when she realised how 'dirty deeds' play an important role. I'll be honest - I wondered why she would have progressed to the second article given the attitude of Leza. But when you fixate on a dream for so long and convince yourself it's harmless, or even beneficial to the parties involved, the character's motivation is understandable.  

This story introduces the reader to Serenity. Her daily life involves being a reception for shallow and snobby women wanting cosmetic surgery. It isn't difficult to find yourself sympathising with her. The customers are rude and seem to have little integrity. Funnily enough, when Serenity's undercover we could say equally bad things about her. She lies, betrays a good man and even panders to a woman with a horrid mantra ('if it bleeds it leads'). Depending on your views of cosmetic surgery you may be like me and find yourself siding with her 'hippie' parents who would look down on Serenity's dream of becoming a tabloid writer. But people have to make their own mistakes to learn from them and this is a story of that. 

Roland does a wonderful job of creating characters which the reader will, no doubt, have strong opinions on. It isn't difficult to dislike Peter in this book. He is boring, unemotional, and just what you might wrongly imagine all doctors are like. It's clear in the beginning of the book that Peter is a poor match for Serenity, though she seems quite blind to it herself originally. I'm honestly not sure I could ever put up with a man like that. Maybe it is because of this that by chapter 6 I felt like I knew the direction of the plot. Jeremy is a much more down to earth sort of the character, and much easier to fall in love with, as reader, than Peter. This is why I felt so sorry for him when bits of his past are revealed. His relationship was ruined by a superficial partner and rather than thinking it's good that they ended, he believes if he looks good then he will attract the right partner. It seems strange that he thinks that by being more physically attractive he will find someone who truly loves him, but isn't this the same mistake many women make? I really like the reversal in this book. It could easily have been about a male doctor and female patient. 

To be honest the idea of the Build a Man column is great. Who wouldn't like to be involved in an interactive designing of the perfect man who is single and looking for love? In this book it's the characters that make it great. The plot is fun, but without such vibrant characters it would feel pretty flat. From the lovable Jeremy, uncaring Peter, detestable Mia and flawed Serenity, Roland includes an interesting range of character. This allowed me to feel more involved with the story. This is certainly a fun read and I would recommend this to anyone who likes the chick lit genre.


  1. Thank you so much! I'm thrilled you enjoyed it.

    1. No problem. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it!


© The Evening eBook Read All rights reserved | Theme Designed by Seo Blogger Templates