Mike Gayle is the author of "Dinner for Two" and the British bestseller "Mr. Commitment." He s also a freelance journalist and a former advice columnist. He lives in England. "From the Hardcover edition.""
The young protagonist of Mr. Commitment struggles with an over-the-top case of romantic despair in Gayle's muddled second U.S. publication (actually his first novel). It recounts four days in the life of London schoolteacher Will Kelly, who is emerging from an extended stay in heartbreak hotel since his girlfriend, Aggi, dumped him three years earlier. The self-absorbed, self-deprecating English instructor doesn't lack for romantic prospects he landed on his feet with comely young Martina but Will's obsessive tendency to compare her to Aggi renders him indifferent to Martina's charms. The unlikely object of his affection turns out to be Kate, the former occupant of his flat, who finds herself in an intimate phone relationship with the rather unstable teacher when she calls looking for her mail. The thin plot consists of scenes in which Will alternately displays his tongue-in-cheek humor to his paramours and launches into a series of whiny rants and bouts of longing for Aggi. The beginning of the climax adds some vigor, when Will proposes to Kate over the phone, then discusses his romantic approach with a radio talk-show host, but the resolution involving both Kate and Will's musician friend Simon is a clunker. Gayle occasionally demonstrates some of the charm and humor that made Mr. Commitment a British bestseller, but the underplotting here shows through in a hurry, and Will's constant whining will try the patience of even the most avid Anglophiles. National advertising; 3-city author tour. (July) Forecast: Nick Hornby fans will make good hand-sell candidates, as will die-hard Bridget Jones loyalists. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
"A delicate blend of realism and whimsy...funny and clever."-"The Guardian" "Funny, sharply observed, and right in tune with aging adolescents desperately clinging to the wreckage of their youth."-"Marie Claire" "Isn't it nice to be reminded that men face the breakup blues, too? This book delivers all the testosterone laden details with enough humor to keep you turning the pages."-iVillage "Mike Gayle has carved a whole new literary niche out of the male confessional novel. He's a publishing phenomenon."-"Evening Standard" "Romance and humor mix brilliantly in this winning novel from the author of Mr. Commitment.""-Booklist" "If you have ever faced the agony of a breakup, My Legendary Girlfriend is for you...[It] will strike a chord with hopeless romantics everywhere."-"Heart and Soul" "A book for anyone who has ever been dumped, dumped on, or just needs a good laugh."-"Chicago Tribune" "Gayle writes the kind of sparkling conversations everybody wishes they were witty enough to have in real life...hugely enjoyable, touching, and funny."-"Publishing News" "From the Hardcover edition."
Adult/High School-Having gotten dumped by his girlfriend on his 23rd birthday, Will Kelly has a severe case of post-breakup blues. He dwells in a land of what-ifs and tortures himself by reliving the fantastic moments of their relationship; but three years later, it seems as though Will is slowly starting to put his life back together. After much intermittent employment, he has moved to London and has a job. His paycheck doesn't relieve him from having to write to his student-banking adviser pleading for yet another overdraft extension, but at least he has a steady income. And he is seeing someone whose self-esteem is possibly lower than his. Still, in the course of four days, he reveals just how far he is from being over his "legendary girlfriend." It isn't often that one gets to read about a man's heartache over the end of a romance. The author of this charming tale brings readers to a sympathetic understanding of the protagonist, even when his behavior is at its most pathetic. Even rarer is the occasion to read a book that can make misery seem so funny. Readers feel Will's anguish but can't help laughing at it, perhaps seeing something of themselves in his behavior. After all, love can make one act in the craziest of ways. Teens will enjoy this novel and relate to Will's story.-Julie Dasso, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Does the world need a male Bridget Jones? It's possible, but William Kelly is a poor contender for the role. Although this first novel did well in England in 1998, its success here is less certain. The whine-to-wit ratio of the hapless Kelly falls too far in whine's favor, as he ponders the sad state of his life in the four days around his 26th birthday. His brightest years were when he was unemployed, sponging off his parents, and madly in love with the "legendary" Aggi. Three years later, Kelly is unhappily employed as a teacher, living in a grubby apartment, harassed by a girlfriend he does not want, and still missing Aggi. The best parts of the book are his lengthy phone conversations with his few friends and with the complete stranger he suddenly asks to marry him. The tangle of relationships provides some humor but is sorted out in an implausible rush. Recommended only for libraries with diehard Bridget Jones read-alike fans. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/1/02; this was Gayle's first novel, published for the first time here after his second novel, Mr. Commitment. - Ed.] - Jan Blodgett, Davidson Coll. Lib., NC Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.