So here is the gist of the story – Dave Harding is a serious music journalist and we all know a bloke like Dave. They bang on about the most obscure bands you’ve never heard of and insist that if you don’t like the “indy” scene then you are not very cool. Not too dissimilar from the Rob Fleming character from Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity.
But when Dave finds himself out of a job after the music magazine he is working for folds, he is forced to make ends meet by writing articles for a women’s magazine edited by his wife Izzy, and before long he lands the role of Agony Uncle for a Teen Scene; a publication for boy-band loving girls. The problem is, Dave actually starts to enjoy dishing our advice to teenage girls and before long he is offering up his ‘expertise’ to anyone who will listen!
Then out of the blue, Dave gets a letter from a 13-year-old girl claiming that he is her father and his world is thrown into chaos somewhat, especially seeing as Izzy has recently suffered a miscarriage. The prospect of fatherhood had left Dave longing to have a child of his own, but now he finds himself in the unenviable position of being torn between the revelation that he could be father for a teenage girl he hardly knows and how to approach the woman he loves to tell her he has fathered a child from a previous relationship within weeks of them losing their own baby.
It’s an interesting subject matter to tackle from a ‘blokes’ point of view and as I’ve always found with Mike Gayle books, he does it with a really nice approach and tone. It never came across as trying to take itself too seriously although it always kept in line with the fact it was dealing with a serious issue, and it is helped along with comical dithering that a man would certainly be able to relate to, and probably a lot of women would recognise too!
This is Mike Gayle doing what he does best, and wrapping a very clever story in comfortable surroundings (the back story of Dave being a magazine journalistic mirrors Gayle’s own profession), so it is very easy to believe the character and the life in which he is living. What probably wasn’t as easy was tackling the issue of building a relationship with someone you hardly know while at the same time trying not to hurt the one closest to you.
All in all, it’s another notch on the lad lit post for Gayle, and fans of his of this style of genre will lap it up. It might not be to every lads taste but what is? If you haven’t tried Mike Gayle before then this is not a bad place to start!