Title: Alphabet Weekends
Author: Elizabeth Noble
Genre: Chick-lit, Romance
Rating: 1 / 5
Add to: Goodreads
Natalie has just been dumped by her long-term partner instead of the proposal she was expecting. Seeking comfort on the shoulder of her best friend, Tom, he suggests they participate in Alphabet Weekends as a way to cheer her up and to also get her to see how good they are for each other. Starting with A for Abseiling they make their way through the alphabet, as well as navigating their feelings for one another.
I read this book during a very long train trip to a friend’s wedding. Having this book as my travelling companion made the trip seem like one that would never end. It was like having my own invisible seat companion who continually ran their nails down a chalkboard, or talked incessantly about themselves throughout the journey. I really wish I could get back the time I spent reading this atrocity. You may ask why I continued reading. Well, unfortunately for me I must be masochistic, as I have this nasty habit of always having to finish books, no matter how bad they may be. As you can imagine, I now try to be a bit more selective about the books I start reading.
On a scale of bad to horrible, this was definitely beyond the worst. Cardboard cut-out characters? Check. Plot that makes no sense whatsoever? Check. Contrived angst? Check. Laughably bad? Check. Honestly, whilst reading this book I wanted to pull out my hair, it was that frustrating. So, having described my state of mind during reading this gem of a book, I shall now move on to the content itself.
This book was such a bore to read. It is desperately in need of some editing, as it had lots of long unnecessary details that played no part in developing the story. In parts it goes into detail about even cleaning. Yes, cleaning. Not only that, but the author continually states the obvious, as well as ignores the golden rule of showing not telling. There was also a complete lack of descriptions about the characters, and not much is known about them except superficial details.
The shifts in narration was particularly frustrating, and at times there would even be shifts mid-sentence. It was also hard to keep up with the various perspectives, as so little details are given about each character that it was difficult to understand the connection between the three separate couples. Also, some of the character’s perspectives only went for a few pages, which was quite jostling as a reader.
The dialogue was unrealistic, with characters throwing in words that do not fit the context, and therefore attempting to appear more intelligent than what they really are. I’m sure everyone knows someone like this in their own life. You know the type who thinks it’s cool to throw in academic words into a conversation about something mundane with their uneducated friends to belittle them. Really they just appear insecure and unintelligent because part of intelligence is knowing when and where to use such words.
The book is really quite derogatory towards women as well. Tom claims in one paragraph that women never see their beauty clearly, and then in the next breath refers to a woman that Natalie is talking to as a hippo. He makes out that Natalie is an amazing person because she will supposedly talk to anyone including an overweight woman. Somehow to Tom, being an overweight female equates to having no personality or any worthwhile qualities whatsoever. Also, those who do not wish to have children are referred to as being selfish within the book. I find this particularly hilarious as they should instead be praised for their ability to stand up against the norm, rather than bringing unwanted children into the world.
I did find it hard to believe that feelings could develop suddenly between best friends who have known each other since early childhood, although I suppose that does occasionally happen in real life. Their relationship is very one-sided, with Natalie always taking from Tom and never giving anything back. She insults him regularly, betrays his trust, and gets herself involved in matters that have nothing to do with her. Really, I have no idea what Tom sees in her.
The take-home message from this book is that your life must be defined by your partner, as Natalie is so obsessed with this throughout. She doesn’t even seem to have any interests outside of relationships. A lack of a conclusion for certain side characters was also quite frustrating, as their story was equally important to that of Natalie and Tom, especially considering that part of the story had been narrated from their perspective as well. Suffice to say, I’d recommend running barefoot over hot coals than reading Alphabet Weekends.