Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Goodreads Review ~ A Discerning Woman's Guide to Manhunting.

A Discerning Woman's Guide To ManhuntingA Discerning Woman's Guide To Manhunting by Bel Roberts

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If ever there was a book to fill a gap in the market, A Discerning Woman’s Guide to Manhunting is it. Aimed at a generation of women who are not prepared to be defined by society and fade to grey on reaching fifty…shhh, Bel Roberts has produced a witty, cleverly written little gem. For women who, in particular, have learned to be economically independent and are not prepared to compromise their principles, this book will prove a most-satisfying read. As the title implies, this a story about a mature woman of substance out on a manhunt. And why not? OK, we can’t all be iconic Goddesses, but can you really see Madonna swapping her sex-life for tan tights and slippers anytime soon? Sharon Stone. Michelle Pfeiffer? No, me either.

Written from the point of view of twice-married, now single and childless, Geri, the story takes an honest look at a woman’s attempt to find a “soul” mate, i.e. someone who is an intellectual match, to do something other than slip into her dotage with. Obviously, therefore, the prospects available do come under some scrutiny. I wondered if this might rattle a few men “of a certain age” but then decided a well-balanced man with a good SOH couldn’t fail to be amused at the observations, age being something none of us can hold at bay forever, even with miracle potions/lotions, good diet, etc. That said, I would quite like to see how Bel would tackle a similar book from a male pov. Clifford’s perhaps, the reasonably well-balanced male Geri doesn’t have to compromise her principles for? A man who definitely has a good SOH and is happy to help Geri with her research re the thorny problem off what “physical” attributes one should be looking for in one’s future mate.

The book also – poignantly – looks at that painful period in most people’s lives where the parent becomes the cared for, rather than the caregiver. This, I think, was handled really well, especially the heartrending subject of dementia. As someone who nursed a parent with early-onset Alzheimer’s, I did wonder whether flippancy around the subject might be upsetting. In fact, I ended up smiling, amused sometimes, sometimes with a little bit of sad nostalgia. The balance,though, was just right. The “green curtains” in the day room told me that Bel had put her research, perhaps experience, together to present the issue sensitively, but again, honestly.

In all then, a thoroughly good read. I liked the underlying hint that Geri, being single, should be the one to give up her life to look after her mum. I liked too that Geri, wasn’t prepared to, but was the one to look for a workable compromise, acceptable to all. It became very clear as the story progressed that Geri cared about her mum a great deal. My one and only tiny criticism would be that I would like to have seen Geri reflect on how much she cared a bit earlier on in the book, as she did later.

The scene were the social workers visit made me chuckle out loud (so true to life) and the BMW line was hilarious. Loved it!

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  1. Great review, Leanne. I will try and give a young man's point of view when I've read it x

  2. That will be a interesting take on it, Michael. Be sure to give me a nudge. :)

  3. As a *maturing* woman this book has always appealed - now I want to read it even more! Great work both Leanne and Bel :)

  4. This is a discerning diary penned by a hilariously discerning author. Wit Lit, maybe, for readers who appreciate the cleverly worded witticisms of a no- slippers-for-Christmas-please retiree.

    I hope that Bel Roberts has a sequel in mind. I, for one, look forward eagerly to sharing her continued diary.

    My laugh out loud moments prompted my not so young husband to investigate the source of the hilarity and would recommend the book wholeheartedly.

    A Bridget Jones style movie comes to mind, which flies in the face of ageism relating to this genre.(

  5. And a wit/lit comment back, Eiry. "No-slippers-for-Christmas-please retiree"! Haw, haw. Lovely. :)

  6. Thanks, George. You won't be disappointed, I promise.

  7. I meant to add my congratulations for another balanced, insightful review, Leanne:)

  8. Posted on behalf of Bel Roberts as Blogger seemed not to be playing:

    Leanne, your comments are generous and very encouraging. I will take onboard all your suggestions and re-draft certain sections to see how they sound. I'm particularly pleased that you liked Mam; her namesake died in 2006 aged 96 and I adored her. Not too rude or raw for you then? I owe you an enormous G&T when we next meet. Thank you! When are you going to tell me when I can read yours?

  9. I did love Mam :) Empathised and smiled whilst getting to know her, Bel. And no, the book was definitely not too rude or raw, just honest - and very humorous.

    My book will be available for scrutnity soon, hopefully. ; x


  10. Posted on behalf of S Gray, who also had a little trouble posting. Blogger was obviously having an off day!

    Brilliant review - an accurate take on a superb book! I've read it and thoroughly enjoyed it - I couldn't help but laugh out loud! Surprisingly naughty in parts, Bel has a directness which took my breath away, more than once. Absolutely fabulous! Although I would caution anyone who may consider reading it during a hospital stay - when I did so, I found that the title, combined with the cover illustration, caused more than a few cricked necks, of the passing nursing staff!

  11. Thanks so much. I hope you told them to buy their own copy ~ allowing them a peek at what was so hilarious, of course. :)

  12. Cover has now been changed but the book is still available with the same content and title on Amazon. Bel Roberts