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Book Review

Mr Commitment by Mike Gayle - Book Review

Title
Author
Publisher

Mr Commitment
Mike Gayle
Flame

Fiction-Net Rating 4 Star Rated Book

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Cover Story

After twenty-eight years of shirking responsibility Duffy's finally realising that he can't extend his adolescence forever. His low-paid temping job is threatening permanency. His gradually receding hairline is depressing him greatly and if that's not enough, his long-suffering girlfriend, Mel, wants to get engaged.

Trips to IKEA, dinner parties with married couples and talk of babies, however, are giving Duffy cold feet. He doesn't have many worldly goods to share – apart form the remote control for his TV, the beers in the fridge and his record collection but can he really put his hand on his heart and say 'I Do'? He knows Mel's the one for him, so why is it he'd feel happier swapping 'til death do us part' for 'renewable on a four year basis'?

But the choice is - all or nothing. So after a lifetime as Mr Irresponsible does Duffy have what it takes to become Mr Commitment?

We Say

Two things put me off Mr Commitment before I even reached page one. First, the lead character is a 'temp'. Again. It seems that these days every author's answer to finding a suitable occupation for the lead character is to make him or her a temp. Secondly, and most importantly, whoever was in charge of marketing and cover design needs a good kick up the rear. Take the blurb on the front cover: "Full of belly-laughs and painfully acute observations". So, this book is great, right? Think again. Read the tiny print underneath and you'll see that the quote is referring to the Mike Gayle's previous book. An appalling and these days too common attempt to give false credibility to the book.

Given the above, it wouldn't be all that surprising if the reader was discouraged from liking this book. However, all is not lost. Mr Commitment is worth exploring. The lead characters are Duffy and his girlfriend Mel. The story evolves around Mel wanting to marry Duffy and he not being convinced he's ready for it. Much soul-searching and exploring of the inner-self follows, much of it in hilarious style. Duffy may be a temp but it's rarely mentioned. In fact, he's a part-time stand-up comic and this gives rise to some interesting scenes. There are plenty of smile-inducing moments.

Things get interesting when, no sooner has Duffy decided that yes, he is ready for marriage to Mel, she discovers that she is pregnant and the whole uncertainty begins again.

You'll enjoy Mr Commitment, though perhaps for the wrong reasons. The lead characters are not the selling point here. Duffy is weak to the point of being a push-over and Mel is annoying, unreasonable and never stops being so. You will long for Duffy to realise this and finally give up on the ever-whinging drama-queen. No – the selling points are the other characters. Duffy's sister, Vernie, is a tower of strength to Duffy and very likable but the hero of the day is Dan, Duffy's best friend. Witty, wild and very much a lad, Dan is the tonic that brings Mr Commitment to life.

Funny (occasionally very much) and mostly just about believable, Mr Commitment is worth a week or two of your time.

Review by: Rob Cook

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