Book Jacket

 

rank 198
word count 11378
date submitted 13.04.2010
date updated 25.10.2012
genres: Chick Lit, Romance, Young Adult, Po...
classification: moderate
incomplete

Life Is Not A Love Song

Leila d'Angelo

Life is not a love song, not a rom com, not a fairytale...no white knights and no airport kisses. How will we cope?

 

Isabel is fed up of waiting for her happy ending and decides to take matters into her own hands. But how do you put the past where it belongs and move on?

Armed with a list of failed and unresolved relationships, a bag of flower bulbs and iPod full of depressing love songs somehow she must find closure...whatever the hell that is.

 
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tags

boyfriends, cheating, closure, gardening, london, love, lyrics, pr, romance, songs

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147 comments

 

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Orlando Furioso wrote 1078 days ago

Your writing is clear and open, easy on the eye, spare and effective. You capture the delicacy of a young woman's romancic bloomtime and the accumulated bruising she suffers in her progress from innocence to injury. It's a well known theme, but you write in such a way that it feels fresh. Here are some of the bits I liked.

Rehab

-- leaning so far forward she looks as though she may plunge head first into the flowerbed ... I can see her there and her position seems to symbolise the passing of the older generation. The notion of her falling, falling into the ground cld almost symbolise her falling into her grave.

-- a respectful decibel ... this is just a lovely dab and by mentioning Radio 4 you are neatly defining your traget audience and middle England, middle-class, respectable. And why not? We read a lot of books.

-- after I've finished killing myself for still being in love with him ... there's wit and sadness at the weakness of her position.

-- his nonchelance is much more believable than mine ... this shows her as modest and innocent. She is not a screaching, scheming she devil. We can sympathise with her. We want her to be lucky.

-- I perch my bag of garden ... arf, arf!

-- always a gentleman ... tagging that little phrase onto the end like that is just light, light, lovely n light. Also I like the word 'gentleman' it is a highly loaded word, but I am on the side of the fence that approves of all it stands for, though I am not necessarily one, at least not aalway

-- tears n peppermint tea ... oh yes, the girls will know all about tears and comfort tea is better than the white that Bridget Jones used to glug down like some thirsty love pirate.

-- ferny-looking plant ... ahem. yes, well. But touching, too, literally. And absolutely absurd. But that is how we are.

-- Or at the very least a puppy ... arch, my dear, very arch!

-- four +1 ... every woman, EVERY woman, who reads your story will probably start making their own list.

-- want to have his children ... chosen our wedding china and named our kids ... oh how the old style feminsts wld howl and gnash as this! And I confess I felt sort of hunted at the thought of it, even though I am long married and have three kinder, all with names. I think you capture how it is though. We men just go along when you girls decide what is right for you, if we have the sense to see that what is good for you may also be good for us, too.

-- working through the list to the recent specifics and Madame Tussauds ... you develop the sense of romantic mischance and growing pain really well. How arch that your main man associates himself with the most powerful man in the world in the image you paint. Yet your rugby tackling heart man proves as potent a dsappointment. Boom! Sharpnel everywhere. ... relationship sharpnel ... is acutely clever, sharp, literally.

-- and that goodbye box, ach, soo sad, esp the way small possessions come to be so symbolic at such times. Again all those who have gone through break ups, and who hasn't? will recall their own such moments.

-- the act of closing the box and the earlier comments about seeking closure, seem to be linked. Perhaps closing the box, at least for now, is a wise step on the path to the greater closure sough.

-- the perceived betrayal of mum comes as a bonus pain, just what a girl needs. But there is a pragmatism in the older generations desire to have it shelves fixed and its easy assumption that all will be well. Of course the older generation (ach, battling with nature which is drying its leaves out!) has more pressing concerns and has forgotten what it is to be young and in bloom.

-- Monty and crumble are sooooo suburban St.Albans, Surbiton, Bristol, Bath. Yess, the Radio 4 mum quietly drawing the young man's physical usefulness is the ultimate wound.

Orlando
WATCHING SWIFTS
--

Stark Silvercoin wrote 1087 days ago

Life Is Not A Love Song is the thinking person’s chick lit. Author Leila d'Angelo has created a believable, yet outstanding, character in Isabella. She’s the type of girl who’s smart, almost too smart for happiness, and whom we can all identify with. Isabella admits her flaws to the reader, and is in fact quite up front about them. There is a good combination of funereal musings and humor throughout the book.

The genius thing is that the story is told through Isabella, often in first person, so that even when descriptive narrative is being spun, it advances the characterization of the heroine. D’Angelo has really found a unique voice here, and I’ve not run across any book in the chick lit genre that has anything quite like it. It’s almost as if the author is telling us her own story through the front of “Isabella.”

I read through all five chapters that were posted as of the writing of this review, and was surprised to find myself enjoying the ride, as I don’t often read chick lit. People who do are in for an even better treat, and may begin to hold their favorite authors up to higher standards after they see how D’Angelo does it.

John Breeden II
Old Number Seven

Becca wrote 1345 days ago

I loved both your short and long pitch. The title and cover caught my eye as well. So if going by how I'd operate in a bookstore, this is definitely something I'd pick up and read a few pages of before deciding if I wanted to make the purchase.

One thing I noticed, is that even from the pitch there is a great voice, and that continues into the prologue. From the very beginning your story promises one thing: there will be no cliches found here. The writing is clever, despite the fact that the MC doesn't come across as someone who thinks they are. I think that is something that will make this a likeable character to a wide audience. Here we have someone we think is pretty cool but doesn't even realize how cool they are. It's humility, but not wrapped up in a quiet, mouse-like person, but in a strong, straightforward character.

You have this way of blending an almost comical melodramatic rants with simple, understated statements that add to the voice. A perfect example is the second paragraph of your prologue, where your main character is having a pity party, but in a sense doesn't really seem as upset as she says... when ended on the note of "and drink lots of tea" the humor is amplified.

I really love the "need closure... whatever the hell that is." line as well. Each paragraph builds up to something and flows into the next. I don't have much time this month for in depth comments, but you've pulled me out of my shell and away from my work. I decided to take a look at some of your first chapter as well because the prologue/character was so interesting.

I find present tense is working really well for this novel. The first chapter shows a whole other level of your writing talent, as you manage to include the small details in the story that make the writing feel alive. After reading a bit I thought... this sounds like chick-lit, and sure enough it was. Mind you, I'm not normally a huge fan of chick-lit, but THIS is good.

Good luck with this. I'm happy to give it a spin on my shelf. IT definitely deserves to be much higher in the rankings than it currently stands.

xBeccaX
The Forever Girl

andrew skaife wrote 1354 days ago

You are a consummate author. You have style, grace of language, pace and brutal skills in character development and dialogue.

"I am the epitome of mediocrity, cried-out with no constructive way to express my misery." Is one of the lines that stands out as so sophisticated in its very simplicity. A concision of language to suit teh context exactly. The relationship with the mother is balanced to perfection and whilst there could be pity, bitterness and angst in equal measure there is simply adequate acceptance on both parts. Sublime.

The importance of the bulbs seems to me to be something important if I had been able to read further than part four. There is a subtle humour in your work that occurs over the bulbs, the relationships, the facts of life, work and self hatred. All fantastic.

You have sublime descriptive skills and a talent for the human perspective.

Your MC has a scathing self hatred that is perfect for this genre and wit to boot.

I love your choice of language: " I feel like he has just rugby tackled my heart", Your list of things is both funny and pitiful and the "actual brownies for brownie points" was pithy.

You have a skill in using the present tense that most, almost all, do not possess. The writing is excellent and you have a talent for pace that I have not read being matched on this site. The authorial voice is a wonder to read.

EXCELLENT. BACKED more than all but one or two for me on this site. FANTASTIC

You know, and if you read other comments of mine around the site, you'll see this backed up, I hate the nomenclature "chick lit": I find it dismissive but for most it fits. Yours is literary fiction, the voice and control is superb. I would hate to see others find a facile read because they lump this work in with the rest of the crap that can be called that. Just my whinging thought.

Cheers

Chris 1 wrote 222 days ago

This is a great piece of work and the focus is on pure story-telling, the ups and downs of what looks like a rocky relationship. It's 'every day' story type but the way you tell it makes me want to read even more. I like the story of the relationships. They're done in a tight, but relaxed tone. The plot and the characters are allowed room to develope and add depth without any telling and more, much more. BACKED

Jimi Bates wrote 339 days ago

Normally I really hate really hate chick stuff! . I was a little surprisedthen when I liked what I've read of your book so far. Great ironic voice. Loved the dream sequence with the coats! It probably hasn't inspired me to write chick lit, but I might not skip books with the chick lit tag quite so easily in the future. James.

Lupo wrote 662 days ago

Lovely work. Very fun and engaging. The MC is relatable and the chatty quality of the writting makes it for a pleasurable read. In my shelf!
Carina
Soundtracks of a Life

Shelby Z. wrote 735 days ago

Very original beginning.
The idea for the book IS different. Your style of writing is good.
Your pitch is drawing.
Nice work with this book.

Shelby Z./Driving Winds

P.S. Please take a look at my pirate adventure Driving Winds.

LittleDevil wrote 923 days ago

I'm not usually that keen on first person present, but I think this has real potential.

Katie Wimpenny wrote 933 days ago

An enjoyable, chatty read. We have a similar style, so I guess I should regard you as the enemy but...

Backed with pleasure.

Best wishes,

Katie

julia kay wrote 961 days ago

Love the title and the short pitch...a book all woman can relate to...made me laughand cry...I would want to buy this book...."no airport kisses." (great wording in your pitch). Wonderfully written. All the best Julia x

YGPAC wrote 975 days ago

Like many reviewers have said, your writting sure is clear and open and having only read the first chapter I must say this book so far is really interesting and pleasurable to read. I am hoping to get a chance to finish reading this book asap. All in all I am liking it a lot.

Luciana House wrote 1019 days ago

I don't know about Isabella, but I think I'M in love with Adam! When will there be more? Please tell me they will end up together??

Luciana House
'Burning Angel'

Suzalex wrote 1035 days ago

Love it! It's down to earth and her emotions, diappointments and questions relatable. Easy read.

Best of Luck,

Suz

JamesRevoir wrote 1041 days ago

Hello Leila:

Your writing is, hands down, the most intimate and personal that I have seen on this site, if not in all the published literature which I have read in my life. It is almost awkward because you lay your soul so bare that I feel like I am secretly reading your diary; nonetheless, I think that that very style is what causes you to uniquely connect with your audience.

James

AnneEvans wrote 1059 days ago

I really like how you develop the heroine. I was immediately interested in her and her vivid personality. Especially love the line about making a list of the guys she needs to get over. In your dialogue, I think it would be helpful to have more action tags or attribution so I could follow who was talking with more ease.

AnneEvans wrote 1059 days ago

I really like how you develop the heroine. I was immediately interested in her and her vivid personality. Especially love the line about making a list of the guys she needs to get over. In your dialogue, I think it would be helpful to have more action tags or attribution so I could follow who was talking with more ease.

Maria Briere wrote 1061 days ago

I ldon't know much about chick lit, but I love how sincere and honest your writing is. After reading the first chapter, I feel like my best friend has just poured out her guts to me.

Tom Hafer wrote 1062 days ago

Good luck Leila, sounds like you are getting a good start towards your goal. Chick Literature is not my genre, but I was moved by the comments,
Peace,
Tom Hafer
Wellplanet
Well Village

bookin-it wrote 1064 days ago

Leila, though I am not a fan of your particular genre, I do have to say that your narrative is very catching. I notice that it's written in the present tense... I'm guessing you were inspired by The Hunger Games? I had never seen that tense until I read that book. Your adjectives are perfectly chosen and timed to perfection. Believe me when i say that my highest compliment is that you are very John Steinbeck-like in your ability to pay attention to detail. My only two criticisms come from the quotations of the characters. First, sometimes I feel like it's not the way people really talk. ("Well, I did tell you I was coming?") I just didn't feel like some dialogue flowed as believably as I would have liked. Perhaps that just had to do with the use of question marks. I felt like there as an over-usage of that particular punctuation ("I don't see why not?"). I'm just offering criticism because as writers I believe we thrive on it because that helps us make our work that much better and brings it one step closer to perfection.

I'd love for you to skim through my book and let me know what you think. The subject manner is very universal, I believe. Kids can enjoy it for its fantasy/action, parents can enjoy it for its sentimental family values and sci-fi buffs will enjoy its other-worldliness. I hope I have balanced them in harmony.

Salience wrote 1067 days ago

While Chick Lit isn't my usual cup of tea, I find myself wanting to read more of your tale. The writing is intensely descriptive, the characters nicely developed and the words...the words flow with ease, if tinged with a bit of bitterness, humor, and pain rolled up into one, like a particularly nice piece of dark chocolate.

Sprayed you with stars, and happily backed!

LPOB wrote 1067 days ago

I loved the opening of the first chapter, but the prologue didn't go down well with me at all. I would simply cut it. Get straight into the story. I honestly want a story, not backstory.

JaredFladeland wrote 1069 days ago

I love what you do with this. It's simple, to the point, but has moments of both beatnik poetry and good old fashioned romanticism.

I really have no critiques. Great work. Very enjoyable. (and I normally don't give a blanket approval like that. I just have no critique)

ClaireLyman wrote 1070 days ago

Hi Leila,

I liked both your short and long pitch, and your title too. You and I apparently explore similar themes in our writing - the idea of getting over someone, and is that even possible?

The tone in the prologue is very different from chapter 1 - I don't know if this is by design? Also sometimes the tone shifts within a sentence - "I contemplate my bleak, loveless future and drink lots of tea" I might have put something like "drink vast mugfuls of tea" - something more in keeping with the higher register of the rest of the sentence...

I also wonder whether you could start straight with "My mother is kneeling..." rather than opening with "hello, Mother", which is a bit mundane? I'd also add the odd word or comma here and there for the sake of clarity - I can give you more detail on that if you'd like - I'm a bit of a grammar stickler though and maybe you're not interested in that at this stage!

I like the Radio Four at respectful decibels - straight away we get an impression of what kind of mother and what kind of family this is. And I also identify straight away with her inability to keep things alive! These little details about a person are what makes a character real so that's good!

What drew me was the pitch and the realism of the story - that life is hard work, painful, messy. I love the concept of that - we need more books that embrace those truths!

Aiyana wrote 1070 days ago

Hi Leila,

I am quite literally in love with this book, I really can't explain it to you, but reading it is like reliving the most horiffic moments of my own life, but suddenly finding them hilariously funny. Seriously, I wish I had been able to read this book five years ago when I was going though my own private hell - it would have seriously eased the pain!

Your writing is wonderful, the narrative is everything I love about first person writing because Isabella's character shines through with every word. You have taken the kind of events that break the hearts of millions and given them form in this wonderful girl who is just as muddled up as the rest of us, makes the same mistakes as the rest of us, but somehow makes it possible to believe that we are all able to come through the other side with a smile.

I already mentioned that I found it hilarious, but I think the point needs reitterating. I was literally laughing out loud in several places, and even when there are darker moments, and things that make me furiously angry - not only for Isabella but also for myself when I found out such things or had such things happen to me - there are still elements of a very subtle humour to your writing that simply make it a joy to read.

I have almost no criticism to offer - I say almost because there are the occasional erros in spelling, grammar etc. but so few that in a 90k manuscript they are barely worth mentioning.

This truly was a delight to read - I really should have been marking, but I started this yesterday and keep getting dragged back to it whenever I try to do anything else. I really hope you get this published, it should be out there for more people to fall in love with!

Aiyana wrote 1070 days ago

Hi Leila,

I am quite literally in love with this book, I really can't explain it to you, but reading it is like reliving the most horiffic moments of my own life, but suddenly finding them hilariously funny. Seriously, I wish I had been able to read this book five years ago when I was going though my own private hell - it would have seriously eased the pain!

Your writing is wonderful, the narrative is everything I love about first person writing because Isabella's character shines through with every word. You have taken the kind of events that break the hearts of millions and given them form in this wonderful girl who is just as muddled up as the rest of us, makes the same mistakes as the rest of us, but somehow makes it possible to believe that we are all able to come through the other side with a smile.

I already mentioned that I found it hilarious, but I think the point needs reitterating. I was literally laughing out loud in several places, and even when there are darker moments, and things that make me furiously angry - not only for Isabella but also for myself when I found out such things or had such things happen to me - there are still elements of a very subtle humour to your writing that simply make it a joy to read.

I have almost no criticism to offer - I say almost because there are the occasional erros in spelling, grammar etc. but so few that in a 90k manuscript they are barely worth mentioning.

This truly was a delight to read - I really should have been marking, but I started this yesterday and keep getting dragged back to it whenever I try to do anything else. I really hope you get this published, it should be out there for more people to fall in love with!

Aiyana wrote 1070 days ago

Hi Leila,

I am quite literally in love with this book, I really can't explain it to you, but reading it is like reliving the most horiffic moments of my own life, but suddenly finding them hilariously funny. Seriously, I wish I had been able to read this book five years ago when I was going though my own private hell - it would have seriously eased the pain!

Your writing is wonderful, the narrative is everything I love about first person writing because Isabella's character shines through with every word. You have taken the kind of events that break the hearts of millions and given them form in this wonderful girl who is just as muddled up as the rest of us, makes the same mistakes as the rest of us, but somehow makes it possible to believe that we are all able to come through the other side with a smile.

I already mentioned that I found it hilarious, but I think the point needs reitterating. I was literally laughing out loud in several places, and even when there are darker moments, and things that make me furiously angry - not only for Isabella but also for myself when I found out such things or had such things happen to me - there are still elements of a very subtle humour to your writing that simply make it a joy to read.

I have almost no criticism to offer - I say almost because there are the occasional erros in spelling, grammar etc. but so few that in a 90k manuscript they are barely worth mentioning.

This truly was a delight to read - I really should have been marking, but I started this yesterday and keep getting dragged back to it whenever I try to do anything else. I really hope you get this published, it should be out there for more people to fall in love with!

Bill Carrigan wrote 1070 days ago

Hi Leila. Never thought I'd read a book called "Life Is Not A Love Song," but I'm well into it--and delighted. You have a rare talent for combining pathos with humor. We love Isabella with all her flaws and failures. Her losses are not overwhelming because this is chick lit, not "Romeo and Juliet," so we know she'll succeed in the end. And throughout there's a thread of realism. Her reflections on the graduation hat, for instance, are unsurpassed for character drawing.

I hope you'll take a look at "The Doctor of Summitville" and, if you find it publishable, give it some shelf time. It's a different sort of love story from yours, but I think you'd like it. We just see reality in different ways. --Best of luck, Bill

Raymond Terry wrote 1070 days ago

Leila, This is clean and original.

While not a regular fan of 'chick lit', although I will confess that I do enjoy the gum on occasion, I found the characters likeable and wholly real as people. There were only one or two things that did not immediately translate into American English usage (e.g. 'year five boyfriend' or ' so close to his barber they watch Arsenal together') and so this story will have a wide audience on both sides of the pond.

I thought the metaphor of the coats for the 'four piece collection of emotional baggage' to be exactly the sort of thing a woman might dream as I have sat through the recantings of many such similar by my wife.

Isabella, caught up in life and guilt over her attraction to Adam, must at the back of her mind still harbor doubts, as she has not definitively proven that Joshua was unfaithful. If she only realized that men are just as insecure and conflicted as women are, at that age for you never forget someone you loved. Indeed, that four piece set may grow some accessories over time. But there is more to tell and Isabella's handbag is vibrating....

'Life is Not a Love Song' is a good book and one I found interesting. There are just enough words to convey the action although descriptions of landscapes is a bit spare. Of course the landscapes are merely a backdrop and so in that the action and the characters are left to drive the story. Very well done. RT

celestexxmarie wrote 1071 days ago

I love the friends' discussions on life and sex. This is only a small sample of your book but after the first four chapters I was hungry for more. Isabella is both likable and realistic. As the author of a novel that also focuses on young people searching for happy endings, this has been a joy to read. You have wit, sharp dialogue, and a finely tuned talent. Here's hoping this story finds success.

Good luck to you,
Celeste Bott, author of Mail On Sunday

ZeeRose wrote 1071 days ago

I actually like this romance story. It doesn't fall into a lot of the trappings some young adult romance does. It handles situations like relationships and the writing is very clever. I think people who say that the chick lit genre is dead or dying should try reading this to show that its not overrun with cliches.

- Zee Rose, 'Skinbane'

Daniel Manning wrote 1072 days ago

Roof garden of potted plants, thats a lot of water especially if the weather is hot though in England its mostly cold. Can Chick lit replace the great novel. Emily Bronte watch out because passion betrayal, friendship, romance and heartbreak are like a new brand of instant coffee, in the fast paced chick lit format. The sweetner, the sugar is the humour, especially 'all I've managed to do so far is pass the potatoes.' So romantic, an understanding of both the male and the female sex shines through with unintentional glib I'm sure.

Full metal jacket of stars.
Daniel Manning
No Compatibility.

Dwayne Kavanagh wrote 1072 days ago

I think you have a got an amazing grasp of Isabel's voice and the who her character is. The first person POV is very intimate and it worked for me. I liked how you told me where Isabel lived through the dialogue with her mother. It's not my kinda a read so I won't hold it against you that you made me want to read more :)

It will see my shelf soon! Full stars for now.

Cheers,
Dwayne

celticwriter wrote 1074 days ago

Hi Leila. Loved your opening...(is it called a "log line" in novels like it is is scripts?).... You tease your reader with a terrific synopsis, which leads one in a natural flow to read more. Placing on my watchlist, and I take your journey, diving happily into it.

Jim

matt.thomas wrote 1074 days ago

I like the writing of this piece. The prose are very polished and the story is well-organized. It's an interesting literary premise and I find myself wanting to read more. At the same time, however, many of the sentences are very long and often unnecessarily descriptive, which slows down the pacing of the piece and runs the risk of taking the reader away from the story.

chvolkoff wrote 1076 days ago

This is a realistic, engaging story, far too familiar...ah, the tangled webs, the emptiness that can envelop some relationship. So much importance given to material and physical things, and how fragile everything can be. You describe all this so well, and also the tenuous position of women waiting for men to come back to them...the danger, the vulnerability...written with ease and wit!

MirandaW wrote 1076 days ago

Hi Leila

I love this, love your writing style. It reads so easily, without any pretenciousness or cliches. I can relate to your character and the situation is real. I have a friend so petite she makes me feel like a monster!
I decided to back this after the first page. The mother is also a realistic character, with the same kind of effortless abrasive nonchalance about heartbreaking situations as mothers, including mine, seem to do so well.

Miranda

More Than Bricks and Mortar

Andi Brown wrote 1076 days ago

HI Leila,
You are a powerful writer. Your book engaged me instantly. The main character is someone I definitely wanted to spend time with. She's smart, witty, and needs our sympathy. I'd be pleased to share her journey.
I'm backing your book, and asking you to consider backing mine.

Thanks.
Andi Brown

Ruth Hannah wrote 1076 days ago

Backed with pleasure

Ruth x

Orlando Furioso wrote 1076 days ago

Adam

This is a great chapter, full of emotional travel. The gain-pain of love seldom being linear, unless we are lovedead perhaps, you give us a good shot of love gain with the delicious grrl meets buoy on BB, where we are as an audience of little goggle-eyed pebbles all avidly a-watching the drama. O the delicacy of that 'optimistic ankle', and as for that tingle -- your first in the story so far? -- I imagine all your grrl readers will feel it intensely and any buoy readers will imagine themselves to be the cause of it. This positive bite gives dramatic contrast after the pain at the end of the previous ch.

The nature of cheating is quite the nicety. Does Is cheat on J with A? She wants that kiss, o how she wants THAT kiss ... hovering there in front of her (and us) ... just ... out ... of reach ... gone ... like a crumbling dream. 'I've definitely just fallen in love.' rather suggests that Is has, erm, strayed. But then Adam is quite the temptation -- artistic, carefree, opportunistic, competent, attentive. O yes, an 8 on the phwoarrr scale perhaps?

The film issue debate fascinates, with fluffy romantic move ending vs world cinema perhaps representing the love vs sex spectrum of human experience. And Brighton is the right intellectual setting for such high minded mattresses, sorry matters.

This passage is the best in the first half of the chapter ... 'He pops uscloser than I had anticipated...testing out how I will feel.' The emotional tumult that follows shows you at your best. Your writerly shows us things that Kodak never cld, taking us into the emotions themselves. This image, and it is an image, is exquisite: 'half releved...half worried...wholly guilty...' I love that, so, too, a few lines later, 'alternate universe.' O me! How can we cheat in another universe!?!

The second half of the chapter is a gas. Your capture the headly mix of emotion on the most significant of days the passage from carefree studenthood, youth if you will, into the being boring credit cruch economy with great skill. A joyous, riotous closure perhaps. Bravo. We know how it is, the unspoken sadness of it all ... all drowned and defeaned in a rising tide of alcohol and decibels beyond the dreams of Radio 4. And among it all is Is...alone, finding her space on the wall, observing it all. (That felt like the writer there, observing .... and in the story we have the writer observing the writer observing...alone for a moment.) The facebook shots, the fight, the green chatreuse or whatever it is. Life in that club is full on, being lived to thefull and consuming itself to the full. (Yet the writer observes the African attnedant and wonders about her mindset.)

The four missed calls and the nature of Issy's response to them presages the drama of the final graph. It is fitting that a phone -- that tool of efficient instant communication -- should play a role by not being responded to in a moment of love turmoil. The 'guilt colouring my voice' is a beautiful dab and one Kodak cld never catch. And ach! that vibrating phone! We all feel it. And how symbolic is it, and how sensuous. Your story is one of finely tuned emotional intellect. But in that final moment we feel the reality of the world in a poignant moment when we also see a communication about to take place. We can sense Adam's urgency to get through and we see Issy there riddled with guilt. Did she cheat? The colour of her guilt is a purple yes.

Orlando Furioso wrote 1077 days ago

Aside ... I'm married with three teens, so I am probably not in your target audience. But I find that your story makes me think ... how was I? how might I have been? how will my kids be? what is the best way to be? what does any of it matter? ... and o how transitory it all is! Things which are of vast moment in our lives two decades on ... become the sweetest of memories if we are lucky.

Life is quite the one, the way she pulls us hither and thither in our innocence. Of course anyone going back to do it all again wld be different. All those terrible mistakes we all make! Offence and hurt we give! Ach, and missed love, the ones we miss and regret forever. And always this, how the two recollections of the same moment are forever different.

They call it chic lit, but at its best it is more than that, catching the moment, triggering memories in those who were there in their own little episodes in the great drama.

Orlando Furioso wrote 1077 days ago

Dionne Warwick

peacock wit ... I haven't seen that turn of phrase before. Love it. And o to have it!

The introduction of new characters works well. Zara the Amazonian warrior princess is really well drawn and her attitude gives another view of how romance works or doesn't. There is a healthy casualness about her, just what the wounded one needs perhaps. It shows you know that there is more than the misty eyed view. The group therapy session feels right, cathartic. The way the conversation turns to 'down there' also shows how we draw on others to judge and shape our own responses to 'the other'.

The start of the chapter is amusing in that it shows the wounded one is still looking around with a keen eye! and that it does not take long for something to turn up. How amusing that she should be at the garden centre getting her garden to 'bury' the others in when a new one pops up! '...a couple extra, just in case...' is marvellously arch. And though the love burial kit is costing the earth (arf, arf), it is a lot less costly and sensible than 10 hours of therapy with some snakieoil shrink.

The inhaling at the start and the talk of 'down there' gives this ch a more sensual tone. '...it's a porn script in the making...' also reminds us of how things can lurch in another direction. So, too, it shows how a situation can be viewed from entirly different perspectives. The porn script may be the way men approach such meetings. Perhaps they are then ambushed by romance later.

The new diet metaphore also works really well and will resonate with your readers. New start girls! Heck yes! Pass that celery stick!

But I think this chapter is Zara's ... beauty, Chanel bags and brains ... Isn't that what women can best rely on when men fail them? Also she burns through men without a care, another plus for her in many an eye.

'I called for reinforcements,' shows she is a good general in the romance war.

In a way the chapter also belongs to sex, the character and actor, just as ealiers belonged to romance, the great dreamer.

No nitpicks!

Orlando
WATCHING SWIFTS

Orlando Furioso wrote 1077 days ago

Janice Joplin chapter

The present tense you use is active and direct. I like it. There is great emotional play in this chapter which takes us from the lows of the disapproval to the absolute highs of love renewed to slow burn doubt and then hideous shock and disappointment. All beautifully handled. I don't think you put a word wrong. My only suggestion is to try and remove the /s in cardigan/seed and hug/air. Not that anyone else will probably even notice them. Otherwise there are some really enjoyable bits ...

-- faceful of disapporval ... you make this feel sensual.

-- wax face ... harks back to the fakeness of Madam T's and makes us wonder what it true, who is right.

-- nonchelance...down to preparation ... your character shows great intuition, emotional intelligence.

-- and then lean forward ... can't help noticing you had mum leaning fwd, now I and J leaning, and later on in the wine bar you have a friend leaning in ... all suggest intimacy, mum with death, I and J with love, the friends with friendship and girly gossip.

-- the dab about knowing someone for so long and then becoming strangers is very strong. JA wld nod at that one.

-- My time is up. He turns, surprisedd. ... I love these little darts of wording. They are slick n quick.

-- pass the potatoes ... how it is, how it is. Monty sniffing around in perpetual food lust.

-- I pause, searchinf for words. ... every writers in the world will smile at that one!

-- I'm safe again. ... There is so much in this. Is that what love is? But isn't there more excitement in not being safe? We are never entirely happy as the safty-excitement balance pulls us all over the place at different stages in our lives. Those who have had decades of safety crave the opposite to feel alive again. Biologist might say the desire for safety is a classic maternal instinct. But who wants to reduce life to a biology thesis. We are more than that.

-- We fit together... I love the way you understate sex. I've read several writers here who do the opposite. They nail it with supurb vigorour and strength. But, but, but... The postmodern notion that anything goes is just not Radio 4. Striving to outdo each other with more shocking 'I'm telling the truth' revalations of horrible incest or pornographic writing might work for an hour, until someone comes with something yet more vile, on and on. So, to understate arguably scoops those who overstate. It is more sylish, classier, and appealing to Miss Above-Average-Intelligence. Sex In The City showed professional girls in the same struggle, but it was coarse. Your writing has a lacy delicacy to it.

-- I also notice Hey/day, tears/fears, pitch Monday/bitch slap.

-- the sense of wellbeing is so intensely strong that even the repulsive of the human crush on the tube can't rock it. This is some love cloud! But -- o sadness! -- it does not last long. ...Blackberry watch is so now. And there we have it, 'bad breath tickling' as the 'delicious secret' becomes a 'shameful mistake.' Ach!

-- the woman vs woman body language, pecking order pecking of Issy vs Sophie is sharply observed as is the way that dreadful news will out. You pit pity against pity as if they were daggers.

-- O and that earlier comment 'Life is back where it should be.' is strong as J is life and life craves life. Ach, back to biology again.

-- the happiness 'Hey' proves a minor uptick, an aftershock of love, which only serves to make the happily-ever-after hope rise anew -- and steepen the plunge. Brill.

-- tornado ... bulldoze ... strong imagery.

-- clipped and efficient ... the antithesis of passion.

-- The silence stretches. ... sensual. But 'pulling the world from under my feet' is not as fresh or strong.

-- He's letting me leave. ... ach, a terrible realisation, esp after the slap of 'obviously I'm still attracted to you...'

-- the last sentence is acutely emotional, yet also very pragmatic. Yes there is pain, but we have to live today. Box it. It makes sense. I like the idea of it. And it is, perhaps, another touchy point for many. Your postmodernist everything goes, get it out, be emotional approach might see this boxing as traditionalist repression of woe. To my very English mind you are on the right side of a cultural fault line that runs through our times. Bravo! Yes, Isabella has had a blow, yes, she feels pain, and is struggling to understand it but no, she is not be sunk by it. The subsequent chapter shows how important friends are, too. A drink with her mates seems far wiser healthier than hours moaning to a mercenary therapist.

Orlando
WATCHING SWIFTS

Nigel Fields wrote 1077 days ago

Leila,
I usually struggle at reading Chick Lit and have only done so since coming aboard Authonomy to offer feedback as a colleague. But your writing is pleasurable, clear, with plenty of spunk and color. Good stuff, this. The prologue works wonderfully. I can't imagine a better approach. The brood of ducklings--brilliant. And I loved how you added: an annoying piece of hope. I have no nits to offer your first chapter. I will rate after reading the rest.
Cheers!
John B Campbell

aurorawatcher wrote 1078 days ago

I hate chick lit! I know, I'm a woman, I'm supposed to like it, but I'm much happier reading and writing about women who can run a man through with their sword when the man uses his metaphorical sword to run them through. So, I was a little surprised when I liked what I've read of your book so far. Great ironic voice. Loved the dream sequence with the coats! It probably hasn't inspired me to write chick lit, but I might not skip books with the chick lit tag quite so easily in the future. Lauri

Orlando Furioso wrote 1078 days ago

Your writing is clear and open, easy on the eye, spare and effective. You capture the delicacy of a young woman's romancic bloomtime and the accumulated bruising she suffers in her progress from innocence to injury. It's a well known theme, but you write in such a way that it feels fresh. Here are some of the bits I liked.

Rehab

-- leaning so far forward she looks as though she may plunge head first into the flowerbed ... I can see her there and her position seems to symbolise the passing of the older generation. The notion of her falling, falling into the ground cld almost symbolise her falling into her grave.

-- a respectful decibel ... this is just a lovely dab and by mentioning Radio 4 you are neatly defining your traget audience and middle England, middle-class, respectable. And why not? We read a lot of books.

-- after I've finished killing myself for still being in love with him ... there's wit and sadness at the weakness of her position.

-- his nonchelance is much more believable than mine ... this shows her as modest and innocent. She is not a screaching, scheming she devil. We can sympathise with her. We want her to be lucky.

-- I perch my bag of garden ... arf, arf!

-- always a gentleman ... tagging that little phrase onto the end like that is just light, light, lovely n light. Also I like the word 'gentleman' it is a highly loaded word, but I am on the side of the fence that approves of all it stands for, though I am not necessarily one, at least not aalway

-- tears n peppermint tea ... oh yes, the girls will know all about tears and comfort tea is better than the white that Bridget Jones used to glug down like some thirsty love pirate.

-- ferny-looking plant ... ahem. yes, well. But touching, too, literally. And absolutely absurd. But that is how we are.

-- Or at the very least a puppy ... arch, my dear, very arch!

-- four +1 ... every woman, EVERY woman, who reads your story will probably start making their own list.

-- want to have his children ... chosen our wedding china and named our kids ... oh how the old style feminsts wld howl and gnash as this! And I confess I felt sort of hunted at the thought of it, even though I am long married and have three kinder, all with names. I think you capture how it is though. We men just go along when you girls decide what is right for you, if we have the sense to see that what is good for you may also be good for us, too.

-- working through the list to the recent specifics and Madame Tussauds ... you develop the sense of romantic mischance and growing pain really well. How arch that your main man associates himself with the most powerful man in the world in the image you paint. Yet your rugby tackling heart man proves as potent a dsappointment. Boom! Sharpnel everywhere. ... relationship sharpnel ... is acutely clever, sharp, literally.

-- and that goodbye box, ach, soo sad, esp the way small possessions come to be so symbolic at such times. Again all those who have gone through break ups, and who hasn't? will recall their own such moments.

-- the act of closing the box and the earlier comments about seeking closure, seem to be linked. Perhaps closing the box, at least for now, is a wise step on the path to the greater closure sough.

-- the perceived betrayal of mum comes as a bonus pain, just what a girl needs. But there is a pragmatism in the older generations desire to have it shelves fixed and its easy assumption that all will be well. Of course the older generation (ach, battling with nature which is drying its leaves out!) has more pressing concerns and has forgotten what it is to be young and in bloom.

-- Monty and crumble are sooooo suburban St.Albans, Surbiton, Bristol, Bath. Yess, the Radio 4 mum quietly drawing the young man's physical usefulness is the ultimate wound.

Orlando
WATCHING SWIFTS
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GriffinsMustFly wrote 1078 days ago

You have captured the voice of a woman who feels the pain of heartbreak but has the strength to carry on. Many of us girls can relate to this book, which makes it a popular read.

Orlando Furioso wrote 1078 days ago

I am taken with the self-raking honesty and identify with the sense of creative worthlessness. I also rather like the word 'heartwrenchingly' which has a good old English feel to it. And, indeed, what is closure!?! I wld read on from the prologue.

Backed. And will be back for more.

Orlando
WATCHING SWIFTS

michel prince wrote 1079 days ago

You capture the whole girl going crazy in her head perfectly. The second guessing then rethinking, then finding strength only to think you don't. The dialog between the characters feels real and makes the reader feel they could step into the bar and share a round of cocktails with them.

Star rated and will be backing this week.

Side note watch the punctuation in the dialog, you want to come out of the speaking parts with a comma. example "You know what." I replied coldly. Also if you do use an exclamation point or question mark make sure you capitalize. example "Why what?" he asks defensively....
These are just rules I've been told and had ratings lowered on other sites. I thought they were for a final editor to catch but I've been told you're book needs to be almost publication ready anymore.

No reason to lose out on an opportunity when you have a story that's good and engaging don't let the little things steal your dream.

Good Luck
Michel Prince
Chrysalis
Frozen

DPMartin wrote 1079 days ago

Lovely story, though it is about heartbreak and all. Written well, although this chapter is a bit long. I would make the sequence where the dream begins Chapter 3. Lets the reader know the scene has changed for the MC and another scene beginning, i.e. Great job though. Please continue. I will be backing this.

DPMARTIN

DPMartin wrote 1079 days ago

You've hooked me. The emotion, though brooding, is engaging. I find that I want to wallow with you, share your torment for it mirrors mine, and see where this goes. On to chapter 2 then.

DPMartin

dreamertothemax wrote 1080 days ago

Lol sorry the bold is for words that I don't like and need to change and I must have forgotten to unbold. OOps!

I must say I thoroughly enjoyed this first chapter - it is real, it is touching, it is funny and it makes me wonder what is going to happen next.
I have a few small and probably irritating crits: I hate the use of bold when used for emphasis,

Gordon H wrote 1080 days ago

I'm not sure I like this.

And i'm not referring to the quality of your book, but the fact that I am actually reading chick lit and loving it (does this mean i'm gay?)
Hooking a male chauvinist is a great feat, and I can feel myself being wheeled in as I read on.

You have a real talent for telling a story and making it interesting. Sounds genuine. May I ask how much of it comes from real life experiences?

I like how you "planted" the bulbs into the story. I might just steal the brownies system - into real life that is.

Will read on and get back to you.

Backed and shelved.

Don't feel obliged to read my stuff (its pretty offensive). I'll get back to you regardless.

/Gordon

Alex and Katija, Partners in sleaze

Earth Countess Rose wrote 1080 days ago

I really like this - the fact that it is recounted in the first person - whether in "real time" or as memory, places the reader in the group of friends supporting Isabella and trying to help her through a difficult time. The self doubt, emotions and difficulties are those that many will associate with - either seeing themselves in Isabella, or having been one of the friends helping someone else through it. I also love the choice of music to accompany the emotions.

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