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Running In Heels by Anna Maxted - Book Review


Running In Heels
Anna Maxted

Fiction-Net Rating 1 Star Rated Book

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Cover Story

To say that Babs is Natalie's closest friend is rather like saying that Einstein was good at sums. Babs and Natalie had such a beautiful relationship, no man could better it. And then she met Simon.

Now Babs, noisy, funny Babs, is getting married and Natalie, 27, is panicking. What happens when your best friend pledges everlasting love to someone else?

As the confetti flutters, Nat feels her good girl veneer crack. She teeters into an alluringly unsuitable affair that spins her crazily out of control and into trouble - with her boss, Matt and with Babs.

Caught up in the thrill of bad behaviour, Nat blithely ignores the truth - about her new boyfriend, her best friend's marriage, her mother's cooking and the wisdom of inviting Babs's brother Andy - slippers and all - to be her lodger but perhaps what Nat really needs to face is the mirror - and herself.

We Say

After wolfing down an obscene amount of chocolate, the main character in Running In Heels boldly proclaims "Beat that, Bridget Jones." Slightly harsh when you consider that the character probably wouldn't have existed without good old Bridget to start the trend that led to this kind of book being published by the truckload. However, Natalie arguably does have one up one Bridget - she can be frothy, sweet, vulnerable and anorexic all at the same time.

Running In Heels is an example of 'Chick Fiction' trying to get serious and making itself appear one Bridget short of a phenomenon in the process. Of course, these kind of books can get away with it sometimes - for example, Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes but the fact is that Keyes writes with such warmth and perception that it's impossible not to enjoy it. Anna Maxted, on the other hand, writes about anorexia as a lifestyle choice and plonks it into a book about the beautiful twenty-somethings in London.

The characters are an almost entirely predictable mix - the big-boned and big-hearted best friend, the dodgy boyfriend, the aloof and enigmatic guy who turns out to be wonderfully sweet and the annoying mother. These are people you can rely on to come up with the cliché - the world spins, their hearts hammer and their lips tremble as they say something like "How can you say that?" or "It's not that simple."

I'm not suggesting that because the illness is serious, the book should be a deluge of depression. In reality, most people respond to a bleak situation with humour as a kind of defence mechanism. The problem I have is that much of the humour and the events seemed banal and unconvincing. I wanted the book to go a little deeper and be a lot more realistic.

Running With Heels gets a one star rating in this book review and that's one star for the pace. Although irritating, there was plenty going on and the story didn't slow down. I just hope that Anna Maxted puts her plotting skills to better use next time.

Review by: Rachel Taylor

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