Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Stag and Hen Weekend by Mike Gayle

2.5 Star

The Stag and Hen Weekend is the story of Phil and Helen, a couple in their thirties about to commit their lives to one another, that is of course if they can just manage to get through their respective stag and hen weekends (his: Amsterdam; hers: a country house and day spa in the Peak District) without falling apart. Told in the unique form of two separate stories that have common characters as well as themes and conclusion, The Stag and Hen Weekend can be read from front to back or from back to front putting the reader in the driver's seat as to which story they wish to read first. Feisty, fun and thought provoking.

Kathryn - 2.5 Star

The Stag and Hen Weekend is intriguing because it explores the same weekend from the perspective of both the bride and groom but this is the first Mike Gayle book that I didn't love utterly and completely.

There is no indication about which half you should read first. I started with the male perspective and I think that was the right choice because there was a warmth established between Helen and Phil in the stag side in the first pages and it helped me solidify their relationship from the start. When I started her side he had already left for Amsterdam so you didn't get that rapport. In fact, in her side you don't have direct  interaction between them at all.  

Throughout their weekends they are both plagued by people from their past which makes them doubt their upcoming wedding. I was disappointed that this was the direction taken by the book because I had hoped for something a lot more lighthearted. Even if it wasn't full of silliness I still didn't get the expected Mike Gayle humour I love because there was so much angst and frustration that they didn't even interact well with their friends. We are given a brief introduction to other party goers but it was a bit wooden and was delivered as if he was trying to fit in the facts and I sadly didn't get the full effect of the friendships. The only friends who are given any depth at Yaz and Simon and I liked that they had a bit of a chance to express themselves. The others felt too much like filler. Phil's sister Caitlin was particularly pointless. She was meant to provide tension but I couldn't get on board with it at all.

Some have appreciated that the ending was left open ended and sometimes I find that when an author does that you can feel free to put your own thoughts into the ending. But the lack of conclusion for the stag and hen weekend just added to dissatisfaction unfortunately. 

I am a big fan of Mike Gayle and I'm choosing to skip over this novel in his catalogue because I've always loved reading his novels in the past.

All opinions are our own.

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1 comment:

  1. I am not familiar with this author at all. I will check him out!



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