Sometimes, looks can be deceiving. And by ‘looks’ I mean one actually owning a flat in London.
CC (real name Chelsa, which she hates, though ‘CC’ sounds even tackier), is nearing forty, and though her life ‘on paper’ looks great, she feels as though she’s missing out. She owns her own flat in Primrose Hill (though there are no mentions of picnics, which may be what she’s lacking), she’s got a great job in an advertising firm, and she has tonnes of great friends, gay and straight. But despite having what has to be the definition of a cosmopolitan’s wet dream, CC still dreams of owning a country home, growing her own veggies and leaving the life of consumerism behind. Only thing is, CC needs a man for this. And CC has got no mans (to quote Anthony from Sex and the City).
The Case of the Missing Boyfriend is written by Nick Alexander, who I’d never heard of, but who turned out to be a well-known homosexual writer who is an outspoken advocate for gay rights. Considering that there was essentially chick lit that was a) written by a man and b) containing numerous gay characters, gay exploits and a shout out for the need for more gay rights, this didn’t up being too surprising. And though The Case of the Missing Boyfriend didn’t have quite the same whimsical charm that a great rom-com can have, it was a nice change to be introduced into a world that I know little about, and for that matter, don’t frequently get the opportunity to read about either. Plus, it worked as a great reason for why CC never seems to run into eligible straight men, despite being attractive, smart and successful.
However, while this book was well-written and succinct, it lacked aspects that could have made it from a ‘meh’ read into something memorable. The main factor being the idea that CC has to come to terms with the fact that she may never meet a man, and for that matter, that she doesn’t need a man in order to fulfil the life that she wants (mmm-hmmm sista!). While the entirety of the novel seems to build to the idea that, hey, there’s more to life than a boyfriend, the conclusion inevitably goes down the ‘cliche romance path’, so not only does CC find herself a rich, successful, handsome boyfriend, but he’s also one that gets along with gay guys AND he has his own country home in the South of France! Basically, the conclusion of The Case of the Missing Boyfriend is that you CAN have everything you dream of…as long as you’ve got a man who can make it happen.
The other problem I had with The Case of the Missing Boyfriend was the characterisation, or for that matter, the lack of it. Despite being our narrator, I felt like I didn’t particularly know, or like, CC. While Alexander attempts to give her a sad back story, it seemed as though it was put in as an after-thought, and though reading about gay guys was lots of fun, sometimes their stereotyping was a little over-the-top. Finally, while CC’s ‘dream man’ is introduced early on, it’s almost too subtle for the reader, so there isn’t enough of the ‘will they, won’t they?’ excitement propelling the reader to the conclusion.
The Case of the Missing Boyfriend definitely had potential for a fun, enjoyable read. I enjoyed Alexander’s writing style, his references to beautiful London and hilarious scenes that almost stole the entire show. (A taster: CC goes on a date with a man who declares that, though he’s still married, he’s going to find another woman before he can get around to breaking up with his wife).
Have you read The Case of the Missing Boyfriend? Have you heard of Nick Alexander? Let me know!