Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Ex-Boyfriend's Handbook: a novel, Or: Extreme Makeover the British Edition.

There is one line that sums up Matt Dunn's The Ex-Boyfriend's Handbook:

"Show me a woman who owns a cat and I'll show you a woman with issues."

No offense to any pro-feline forces on the interwebs but that statement got a chuckle from me.

Edward Middleton* is not the one who spouted that line. That would be his over-sexed actor friend Dan (he's a major douche). See, Edward has a problem: he is clueless about women. Which is why Jane, his now ex-girlfriend, left him and moved to Tibet for 90 days. Edward decides to change within those 90 days in order to win Jane back. Douche-y Dan decides to help. He makes a list of changes Ed should make. It's a really long list so I'll shorten it here for time purposes.

The Really Short List of Things That Edward Middleton Needs To Change About Himself in 90 Days:

  1. Every-freakin'-thing.

Honestly by the middle of the book you'll be wondering why Jane didn't leave Ed sooner. He smokes, he drinks too much, and he probably helped the Brits vote the Oxford comma off the island. But he has promise. He gets a plucky and attractive female personal trainer, he quits smoking and decides to support the Oxford comma (not really).

The bromance between Douche-y Dan and Edward is the highlight of The Ex-Boyfriend's Handbook; their conversations and how much they don't "get" women is a constant source of amusement; I found myself smiling a few times because of it. Especially when they were both wrong. And especially when they were both right. And mostly because I'm guilty of buying flowers for a girl at a gas station as Edward did. I have learned to never do that again.

Edward attempts to date so that when Jane gets back he'll know what to say and do. The dates are awkward. Think first date at 14 awkward. Or recently divorced after 22 years of marriage awkward. The rejection was blindingly painful and there were moments when I cringed. Dunn writes these scenes in a way that is both funny and sad. Making this real romcom territory. You'll laugh, you'll smile, you won't cry, but you will cringe.

I'm not going to lie. This is chick lit and I'm a guy and I enjoyed it and I don't feel guilty for it. And I am really grateful that I found out about the gas station flowers. Thank you, Mr. Dunn.

This book is rated Cheshire Cat for being British and oddly adorable.

*No relation to Kate.


  1. I'm so happy that you're back.

    That is all.

  2. Thank you. Thank you very much. Even though I haven't been blogging I have still been around. It's good to be back into the lit blog community again.


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