Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Review: The Hating Game, by Talli Roland


Remember my interminable Kindle thoughts? I now have a Kindle! My birthday pressie arrived a couple of weeks ago and I was a very happy reader.

Unfortunately, the following day I caught a stomach bug and was laid up for most of the following week. I have rarely been so grateful for a piece of technology, because I could just order books as I needed them, from the couch, without having to dispatch minions to the nearest bookshop.


One of the first books I bought for the Kindle was Talli Roland's
The Hating Game, which has been garnering great reviews since its release in December. I love Talli's blog so I suspected I'd like her writing voice - and I did.

The Hating Game
, for those of you who have been in solitary confinement lately, is about Mattie Johns, a smart and ambitious businesswoman who takes part in a reality TV show in the hope the prize money will save her ailing business. She doesn't know that the men on the TV show are all her exes - nor does she know whether they are there for a second chance or to get revenge. . .

Although the plot was great, my favourite thing about The Hating Game was the characters - not just Mattie, but the secondary characters. I often judge books by the 'best friend' character. William Goldman said once that in life, no one is 'the best friend' - we all believe the camera is on us. That came through in spades in The Hating Game, and not just in Jess, the actual best friend (who really could have had a book of her own running alongside this one, a la Midnight Sun). Every character had their own story and their own journey (with the possible exception of Silver, the TV exec who made Mattie, hard-nosed businesswoman that she is, look like a baby chinchilla - and if she had grown as a person I would have enjoyed the book much less!). The secondary characters didn't take away from Mattie; they just made the world of the book seem much fuller and richer.

Mattie was brilliantly written too - there were moments when I wanted to throttle her, but overall, in spite of a near-total lack of cuddly traits, I really liked her. Even her ambition and ruthlessness (not traditionally endearing qualities!) became likeable once I got to know her. It was also nice to read about a heroine I could respect as well as like! It's impossible not to admire a woman who, in spite of her total desperation, won't just lie down and take whatever life hands to her.


I also loved the humour of the book. The situations were funny, the characters could be very funny, but there were no attempts to shoe-horn in bad jokes followed by multiple exclamation marks . . . the humour arose naturally from the situations and from voice, which is how I like my humour in books.


Overall a cracking read, and one that I'm sure I will go back to. I noticed today that The Hating Game was back in the Top 100 on Amazon.co.uk, and so it should be. Long may it stay there :)

9 comments:

  1. Yay! I made it over - and how lovely to see this after a tiresome week of computer battles. :) Thank you so much, Ellen! It's always a bit unnerving when blog buds read my book, am I'm SO glad you liked it! Thanks so much for taking the time to write a review, too.

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  2. No problem Talli, I was a bit unnerved myself but I was worried about nothing, I really loved it :)

    Btw, I should point out that even though I was sick, my brain was its usual self!

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  3. Great review of a fantastic book!

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  4. I love seeing writers take elements of modern society and skillfully craft stories around them. I wouldn't have thought of using a reality show as the basis for a novel, and I can't stand them myself, but I really like the idea of seeing how it all looks from the point of view of the person in the show.

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  5. Glad you guys liked the review, and the book :)

    Paul, the reality TV element in the book is very well done - pleasingly mad but scarily plausible!

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  6. I'm almost done with the book! It's really good! I love when I get to a new chapter, because of the statistics each one starts with!
    Too funny!

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  7. I loved the statistics too :) I found myself looking forward to them and wanting to text them to people!

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