The List is a book that caught my eye because it looked like a story that would be full of hilarious disasters as well as some romance. The List follows the story of Phoebe Henderson, a thirty something woman who’s been single for over a year after she found her boyfriend in bed with his boss. The book begin’s on New Year’s Eve with Phoebe partying in a hotel with her friends as she does every year, but she wants the new year to be different. Instead of making those resolutions that nobody ever keeps like I will go to the gym everyday or I will eat healthier food, she decides she’s going to improve her sex life. So, she decides to a create a list of ten things. Ten new things to do in bed that she’s never tried before. But first, she’s got to find someone to help her…
Although the main plot of the book revolves around Phoebe and her sex life, this isn’t a work of erotica. Sure, a lot of sexually explicit material but it doesn’t quite cross the boundary into erotica and it’s by nothing like Fifty Shades of Grey (though there is some bondage involved). I suppose it would be rather interesting to take a feminist slant on The List because it’s all about a woman striving for sexual liberation, rather than a boyfriend or a husband. Sex isn’t a taboo subject in this novel and it’s okay for women to have multiple sexual partners without her seemingly ‘easy’ or ‘slutty’. This story isn’t about a woman who just wants to have more sex, it’s about a woman who actually wants to make a change in her life and sex is a major part of that.
I like that the main character, Phoebe, seems to be a relatively ‘normal’ person. She’s hasn’t got some sort of glamorous job or amazing figure, she isn’t insanely rich and she doesn’t fall in love with a prince. This story is all so ordinary and that’s what makes it so good. It isn’t ‘ordinary’ in a bad way, I simply mean that it’s slightly more realistic than other novels to the point where I could actually envisage most the characters being real people. This is actually quite a feat since a lot of the characters do very stupid and things throughout, but I never thought ‘this is ridiculous’. I guess the fact that this book seems almost ‘real’ is what makes it so funny.
That said, I found the ending to be a little disappointing. I have to admit that I couldn’t predict what the ending would be as Bolouri doesn’t tie all the lose strings up until the very, very end which means that there are multiple possibilities for an ending throughout and I liked this. However, when it became clear what the ending was going to be, I felt like everything was really rushed and that when I finished reading the book I found myself wanting to know more. As The List is a standalone novel this is a little frustrating. It’s not like there was a massive chunk of the story missing or anything, I just wish there had been a few more pages added to the end.
All in all, I found The List to be a highly amusing and easy read. I really liked all the characters as they seemed like ‘real’ people and this made it easy to get into Phoebe’s world. Phoebe, as a character, is admirable and I think this book is perfect for women who are in a bit of rut and are looking for that extra push to make a change in their lives. It doesn’t have to involve sexual experimentation as it does with Phoebe, but certain aspects of this book are pretty inspiring. If you’re the sort of person that feels uncomfortable reading about sex, then this probably isn’t the book for you. Then again, like Phoebe, you could be brave and give new things a try!
Many thanks to Lauren Woosey at Quercus Books for providing me with an ARC of The List!