‘The List’ by Joanna Bolouri

the list

Hello and welcome! Come on in, make yourselves at home here at Tales from a Bruce Eye View. Grab a brew and a biscuit, take a look around. Thank you for joining me on this, the third day of the Blog Tour celebrating Joanna Bolouri’s delightfully risqué debut novel, The List.  Bolouri has honed her comedic writing talents over the years by working with the likes of stand up comics, comedy scriptwriters and actors in the UK after doing rather well in a BBC comedy script competition. She has certainly utilized her funny stick in The List (not a euphemism) which is filled with frolicsome hilarity along with the odd innuendo and/ or blatant description of some lurid sexual act.

Here’s what the back page has to say about The List:

Phoebe Henderson may be single, but she sure doesn’t feel fabulous. It’s been a year since she found her boyfriend in bed with another woman, and multiple cases of wine and extensive relationship analysis with best friend Lucy have done nothing to help. Faced with a new year but no new love, Phoebe concocts a different sort of resolution.
The List.
Ten things she’s always wanted to do in bed but has never had the chance (or the courage!) to try. A bucket list for between the sheets. One year of pleasure, no strings attached.
Simple, right?
Factor in meddlesome colleagues, friends with benefits, getting frisky al fresco and maybe, possibly, true love and Phoebe’s got her work cut out.

As you’ve probably gathered, not one to bring to the hypothetical book club you share with your grandmama of a Sunday eve. No, no. 98.2% of the pages of this book are absolutely dripping with sex. Not in a cringe worthy I-don’t know-where-to-look way. It’s not so graphic that it burns your eyeballs but still a tad too much to enter into any discussion about with a more senior member of one’s family.

But then again, its only sex. We’ve all did it. Not as much as Phoebes but still, its nice to read a book that’s so open about sex, which can be a bit of a taboo subject to write about.  (Can it? Or is that just my prude of a brain talking? I think it is a bit…) Phoebe’s attitude towards sex is quite healthy with regards to her mental health more than anything. She has highlighted an area in her life that she wants to improve and tackles it one greased up bullet point at a time. Why not! If its safe and everyone’s happy, there’s nothing wrong with that.

A good point about this book is that it highlights some side effects of having sexy sex that may be uncomfortable to seek advice about in real life. I won’t go into it here but you can read the book for the deets. Never again will you have to wipe your Google history in haste at the sound of footsteps close by.

I found Phoebe to be a very likeable character. She is very funny, strong and independent and tackles her problems very much head on. As it were. Ahem. Some of her friends/ conquests/ ex’s on the other hand were a little two dimensional. The book is written in the style of a diary, so the story is understandably very much centred on Phoebe and her view of things. Oliver is the only exception to this. I felt like Bolouri communicated his character really well with his cheeky quips and his Irish charm. (FYI reading a book in which the two main characters are either Glaswegian or Irish in my Lancashire/ West Yorkshire brain was NOT easy. I do always try to hear the characters in their designated accents, but I’ll be honest it just turned into a bit of a Gaelic mush and a two day migraine, so I gave up.)

The metamorphosis of Phoebe and Oliver’s relationship from beginning to end is enchanting, if a little predictable in a happy ending kind of way. Its like a very sweet, lube laced fairy tale. Again, it tackles some very important relationship issues and the effect that sex can have on a friendship.

I imagine this book is a little more accessible to people in the Glasgow area where the book is set. Bolouri leads us around the city as we follow her characters to the next adventure. There are lots of local shout outs that I’m sure would please the Glaswegians among you.

All in all, The List is a funny, funny book that made me laugh out loud over two times. Many thank yous to Joanna Bolouri for writing and to Emma Louise and Quercus Books for organising this Blog Tour and for sending me a shiny new book to read.

Happy reading everyone!

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