Wednesday 6 February 2013

Retro Review: Thirty Nothing by Lisa Jewell

I love re-reading books. For me, it's like watching You've Got Mail over and over and over again. This year I've set myself a goal to re-read some of my older books gathering dust on the bookcase.

Dig and Nadine were best friends until Delilah arrived at their school and took Dig away. With no room in his life for Nadine now he has a girlfriend, Nadine was pushed out and the pair went their separate ways.

Now thirty, Dig and Nadine are best friends again. They’ve both fallen in love and had their hearts broken but have found solace in their old, comfortable friendship. Dig has his dream job in the music business and Nadine is making a name for herself as a photographer. Their lives are successful with the only flaw being their love lives. Dig can’t seem to find a woman to settle down with while Nadine keeps ending up with losers.

But the morning after his 30th birthday, Dig runs into his first love. Delilah broke Dig’s heart twelve years ago but seeing her again makes Dig wonder whether he may still be in love with her.

Nadine is far from impressed when Delilah encroaches on her life again. She stole Dig away from her when they were kids and she can’t bear the thought of history repeating itself. But history does begin to repeat itself as Dig and Nadine fall out over Delilah. Nadine starts to wonder if delving into her own past is a good idea. The only man she has ever loved out of all her past boyfriends was Phil, the man she lived with while at college. If reuniting with a past love could work for Dig and Delilah, why couldn’t it work for Nadine and Phil?

Thirty Nothing was published over ten years ago and I’ve read it many times but the book was still as fresh and fun as the first time I read it. Dig and Nadine have a wonderful, close friendship and I could feel Nadine’s pain as she felt it slipping away, both while they were at school and years later as adults. Delilah was the epitome of cool when she arrived at the school; mysterious and beautiful, immediately popular and Nadine didn’t feel she could compete for Dig’s attention and her insecurities return upon seeing Delilah again.

Thirty Nothing is an amusing book, particularly Dig’s interaction with Delilah’s little dog that Dig ends up looking after. Dig can’t stand the being around the shivering, whimpering dog to begin with but you can see an odd bond develop over time. One of my favourite parts of the book was a drunken answerphone message which involved Dig and his willy.

As well as the fun aspects of the book, there is also a bit of mystery surrounding Delilah – why did she disappear from Dig’s life so suddenly twelve years ago and why is she back now?

The book is written in Lisa Jewell’s light, easy and humorous style and is full of big, unforgettable characters. It’s a story of lost and unrequited love, friendship and discovering it isn’t always possible to go back and recreate what you once had.

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