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Book Review: About Last Night by Adele Parks

'about last night adele parks Book Review: About Last Night by Adele Parks


I sometimes envy those who have friendships going back to their kindergarten days, where every story is familiar and every comment is an in-joke. But in truth Im not sure whether these relationships are entirely sustainablepeople change, after all, and most of us are vastly different from who we were as kids (for the record, I dont wear socks and sandals anymore). Different goals and aspiration, differences in social groups, and the influence of family and relationships see people moving on and seeking out new things.

And its not necessarily a bad thing, in my mind. While theres something impressive about the closeness of those decades-long friendships, theres often an undercurrent of co-dependency. And the next thing you know it, your best friends expecting you to provide her with an alibi for the night her cheating husband was the victim of a hit and run

Okay, so the chances of that happening are slim for most of us, but not so much if youre the protagonist of an Adele Parks novel. About Last Night'is the latest outing from best-selling Parks, and touches on all of those chick lit must-haves: besties at odds, cheating and/or (in this case and) deserting husbands, fledgling fashion careers, and existential and/or mid-life (its and here again) crises.

Steph and Pip have been inseparable ever since the vivacious Pip rescued mousy Steph from mediocrity by befriending her back in Grade 3. But fast forward a few decades, and the tables seem to have turned. Flighty Pips burgeoning fashion career has been dashed against the rocks of various unfaithful partners, the worst of whom being her Houdini-esque (read: escaped) husband Dylan, while Steph is the ultimate in Stepford Wife perfection. Knowing on some level that Steph bottomless indebtedness will ensure that Steph bows to her every whim, Pip flits here and about, making do, but not much more.

Of course, such a novel cant be much fun without a bit of role-reversal going on. Pip, at Stephs behest, finds herself attending a meeting with the Selfridges buyer, and walks away with an exclusive contract and the phone number of a chap she meets on the train. Steph, on the other hand, finds herself the unwitting possessor of a mobile phone containing texts and voicemail messages far more explicit than anything the Marquis de Sade could have come up with.

But when it comes to a shoulder to cry on, its not Pip whom Steph seeks out. Steph mysteriously vanishes for a few hours, during which time her adulterous husband is hit by car and sent into a soap opera-worthy coma. But when asked of her whereabouts, Steph tells the cops she was with Pip, and asks her friend to corroborate. But Pip cant shake that creeping feeling that perhaps, just perhaps, Steph did it

I had a tough time with Parkss previous novel Men Ive Loved Before, and Im afraid that I struggled with this one as well. While the blurb of this one sounds great, and the nostalgic first chapter is a delight, the material that follows isnt quite as sound.

Perhaps its that Im completely and utterly tired of cheating husbands and horrible deserting men (Really, most men are quite nice, you know!), and that Parks ensures that her entire cast is a set of dastardly philanderersindeed, just about anyone in this book could be the subject of the title. 'While I know our MC needs something to angst about, surely there are other potential complicating factors that we could mine for dramatic goodness? Just about every man in this book is on the prowlapparently a wedding ring is a sexual equivalent of a barometer: if theres a flash of gold, theres a high chance of shenanigans.

While I ordinarily grin and bear this sort of stuff, Parks just doesnt have the panache to pull it off. Though Steph and Pip great characters from a superficial perspective, they remain just thatsuperficial. Its terribly hard to feel any sort of connection with any of the characters, largely because of the massive amounts of exposition throughout the book. Between the MCs recounting of their pasts, the self-indulgent rumination that goes on, and the explication and retelling of every event, situation, and thought, pretty much this entire book is redundant.

These issues are particularly apparent when we switch into the POV of the Other Woman, a character far too overdone to fit with the otherwise fairly serious themes of the book. Kirsten is a twenty-something gold-digger whose voice is something akin to that of a fourteen-year-old, and whose dress sense is about the same. Her motivations are all over the place, and her complete inability to engage in any sort of introspection just boggles the mind. In my mind the book would have been quite a good deal stronger without this POV, which rather than offering a tempering, balancing perspective, makes the novels existing problems all the more evident.

There are plotting issues, too, with one major one being the sudden reveal of Stephanies own moral shortcomings (given the themes of this book, Im sure you can guess what this involves). When this comes to the fore, its as though shes recalling a past life. Theres nothing mentioned earlier to telegraph it, and it feels so odd and unmotivated. Unfortunately, this same authorial handwavium happens at the end of the novel, too, and we end up back in an almost inconceivable happy families situationits almost as though the first few chapters, where none of the adulterous shenanigans had happened yet, have been transposed with the last few. The result is to lessen the impact of everything that came beforehandwhich given the themes of this novel, is disappointing, and had the girl-power side of me (okay, admittedly thats most of me) bridling a little.

But to be honest, the biggest challenge for me here is the authors idiosyncratic punctuation. Although I do have a slightly unhealthy love affair with the humble comma, its nothing compared with Parkss. Think run-on sentences and comma splices charging about the pages like a swarm of typographic tadpoles. I can only imagine how many times stet was scrawled on this manuscript!

Perhaps my expectations were unrealistic after the excellent Tasmina Perry novel I just zipped through, but for me'About Last Night'didnt deliver. The hook is a good one, and theres some great potential, but ultimately it falls flat.

Rating: star Book Review: About Last Night by Adele Parksstar Book Review: About Last Night by Adele Parkshalfstar Book Review: About Last Night by Adele Parksblankstar Book Review: About Last Night by Adele Parksblankstar Book Review: About Last Night by Adele Parks (not bad)

With thanks to Hachette Australia for the review copy

Purchase About Last Night'from Amazon | Book Depository UK | Book Depository USA

See also our review of Men Ive Loved Before

Other books by Adele Parks:
husbands adele parks Book Review: About Last Night by Adele Parksplaying away adele parks Book Review: About Last Night by Adele Parksstill thinking of you adele parks Book Review: About Last Night by Adele Parksyoung wives tales adele parks1 Book Review: About Last Night by Adele Parks

men ive loved before adele parks Book Review: About Last Night by Adele Parks



  1. Hi Steph,

    Im an email subscriber to your blog, and dont often leave comments on reviews but I had very much the same thoughts about this book too. Its another disappointing addition to the chic lit genre and its a shame Parks cant seem to branch outside of the theme of infidelity. If you wish, you can check out my review @

    I think I will check out Tasmina Perrys novels though, you have me convinced there!

  2. Stephanie /

    Hi Jayne,

    Thanks for visiting! Ill definitely pop over and check out your review.

    The Perry has some infidelity as well (its chick lit, after all!), but its dealt with in a different mannerin the Perry, the characters lives arent completely defined by their partners. Sheila OFlanagan also does some good work.


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