Ghosts
by Dolly Alderton

Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada, DoubleDay Canada for gifting me a copy of Ghosts by Dolly Alderton in exchange for an honest review!

Ghosts was published on August 3, 2021 – OUT NOW!

I am feeling SO conflicted by this book.  I didn’t love it and I didn’t hate it—it’s just sitting somewhere right in the middle for me.  Ghosts has been pitched as a romantic comedy, with quotes slated all over the back stating how funny it is—but I feel like that couldn’t be any further from the truth? Yes, there are some funny one-liners here and there, but I found that, for the most part, it was really grim, sad, and depressing.

Essentially, this book is about a thirty-something chef and writer named Nina who meets a man named Max through an online dating app (similar to Tinder).  Their relationship is going well and they have great chemistry and great conversations—that is until the day Max finally tells Nina that he loves her and then completely disappears.

FULL SYNOPSIS:

A smart, sexy, laugh-out-loud romantic comedy about ex-boyfriends, imperfect parents, friends with kids and a man who disappears the moment he says “I love you.”

Nina Dean is not especially bothered that she’s single.  She owns her own apartment, she’s about to publish her second book, she has a great relationship with her ex-boyfriend, and enough friends to keep her social calendar full and her hangovers plentiful.  And when she downloads a dating app, she does the seemingly impossible: she meets a great guy on her first date.  Max is handsome and built like a lumberjack; he has floppy blond hair and a stable job.  But more surprising than anything else, Nina and Max have chemistry.  Their conversations are witty and ironic, they both hate sports, they dance together like fools, they happily dig deep into the nuances of crappy music, and they create an entire universe of private jokes and chemical bliss.

But when Max ghosts her, Nina is forced to deal with everything she’s been trying so hard to ignore: her father’s Alzheimer’s is getting worse, and so is her mother’s denial of it; her editor hates her new book idea; and her best friend from childhood is icing her out.  Funny, tender and eminently, movingly relatable, Ghosts is a whip-smart tale of relationships and modern life. 

MY THOUGHTS:

I found that the main story line and the build up of Nina and Max’s relationship was extremely slow.  I kept waiting for something more to happen with their relationship, but then he just disappeared and a large part of the rest of the book focused on her processing his disappearance (which is definitely fitting for the title of the book). 

One of the secondary story lines, following Nina’s relationship with her parents, was probably my favourite part of the book—her father has Alzheimer’s while her mother is in denial about his diagnosis, pretending that everything can, and will be, just fine.  It was heartbreaking to see Bill’s Alzheimer’s claim more and more of his memories as well as the effect it’s had on Nina.  It almost seems like this should have been the main story line, with Nina’s relationship with Max—serving as a distraction—as the secondary one.

I will say that I did enjoy Nina’s friend, Lola—she was definitely my favourite character out of them all.  I really appreciated her bluntness, humour and how much of a hopeless romantic she is.

I think that I struggled with this book because I went into it with one mindset about how it was going to be and what I read was something entirely different and not at all what I was expecting.  If you go into this book with very little expectation of what it should be and view it as a book that examines different types of relationships instead of a rom-com, then you might have a completely different reading experience and find that you enjoy it more than I did!

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