Rating: 3 stars
This book was, I think, somewhat let down by its cover and blurb. It packaged and sold itself like a thriller, promised a “rollercoaster of actions and reactions”, and had a gorgeously creepy cover that suggested murder. I recently read Sabine Durrant’s Lie With Me, which had been packaged similarly and offered a creepy, slow-burning and truly explosive story.
Because I Was Lonely tells the story of two teenage sweethearts who, once they become lonely stay-at-home parents, reconnect via Facebook. There were some good things about the book. The Facebook messages integrated into the text were believably childish and the flirting awkward and really quite realistic. There were some descriptions of the loneliness of raising young children that seemed to speak to a deep personal experience.
However, the climax felt a bit meh compared to the build up, and the ending fizzled out. This book also did this thing that has irritated me more and more in contemporary novels written by women – it had a tendency to write all men as if they are stuck on permanent sex pervert mode. If they’re not staring at a barmaid’s “ass” (despite the fact that the novel was set in the UK and at no point did the barmaid own a donkey, or even take anyone to a donkey sanctuary), they’re sexting old girlfriends. Male distress is expressed through sexual dysfunction.
The problem with this isn’t intrinsic per se, it’s just so predictable, and I wasn’t sure that any of the characters were surprising. The lonely mother who used to be an under-confident but effortless hottie. The husband who is trying his best but is lured astray by a younger woman. The ruthless career woman who masturbates with a big silicone dildo. The stay-at-home dad who feels emasculated by his wife.
So, it’s a reasonable summer read, but don’t expect anything dramatic. By the by, it’s also a pretty grim view of marriage, so not recommended for a romantic break.
Reviewed by Louise