Ed Middleton is ecstatic: he’s just got engaged to his girlfriend, Sam, and he couldn’t be happier. At least, he thinks he’s engaged. The thing is, it was Sam who did the proposing, and the more he thinks about it, the less he’s sure that she was actually asking him to marry her. She could have just been asking the question, you know…hypothetically. As the wedding day draws nearer, Ed becomes more and more uneasy. Sam keeps disappearing off for furtive meetings and private phone calls, and when he spies her going into a pub with a man he’s never seen before, all his old jealousies and insecurities threaten to re-surface. It’s the perfect time for Ed’s unhinged ex-girlfriend, Jane, to show up on his doorstep. Meanwhile, Dan – Ed’s best-friend and soon-to-be-best-man – is determined to throw him a stag night to remember. And when a severely hung-over Ed wakes up the morning after the night before to see a second dent in the pillow, it seems as if Dan has got his wish. Will Ed manage to find out the truth about his stag night as well as the identity of Sam’s secret man? Or will an accidental proposal lead them both down the aisle to a wedding neither of them ever imagined?

Ed is getting married to his girlfriend Sam, the woman of his dreams. They’d been living together happily for some time, when one night Sam asked Ed to marry her.  Or at least he thinks she did; it’s only when Ed is telling the news to his best mate Dan that he realises that he’s not absolutely sure that Sam was proposing – was she actually just asking whether he wanted to get married ‘some day’? Much hilarity then ensues, with Ed doing his best to subtly find out whether Sam does genuinely want to tie the knot, ‘helped’ of course by the inimitable Dan.  The reappearance of Ed’s ex Jane leads to further complications, and all the while, Ed is running out of time with the wedding day getting ever closer.

The relationship between Ed and Dan is the real backbone of this book; some of the conversations between them – which mainly take place in their local pub – are nothing short of hilarious. Dan, in particular, is a fantastic character: he’s not the sharpest tool in the box bless him, but thanks to his vast collection of ‘Cosmopolitan’ back issues, he’s sure that not only is he an expert on women, but he’s God’s gift to them too. His verbal slip-ups are a constant source of amusement throughout the novel.

The only downside to the importance of Ed and Dan’s friendship is that I didn’t find out very much about Sam. I wanted to like her because Ed adores her, but I didn’t really get much of an impression of Sam other than that’s she’s a personal fitness trainer who won’t let Ed eat muffins (which didn’t exactly endear me to her!).

I thought that Matt Dunn did very well with his working of the homeless character Billy. Billy is intelligent and witty, and gives Ed some very good advice; his friendship with Ed and Ed’s treatment of him were very clever ways to illustrate Ed’s kind character: no matter how daft he is, the reader remembers how he is with Billy and never forgets that Ed really is a good guy

Dunn’s style of writing is very laid back and witty – the characters are the absolute essence of the book. He doesn’t use a lot of description of setting or environment; the key is the people, not where they are. This makes for a very relaxed easy read and a very close relationship between the reader and the main characters.

The book stopped just a little too soon for me, the ending didn’t seem quite complete, but I do love that the loose end is just ripe to be turned into a sequel: hopefully we’ll be seeing more of Ed’s dilemmas and Dan’s verbal slip-ups in the very near future!

4 stars



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