CC is nearly forty, and apart from her real name (which she hates with a passion usually reserved for men with beards), everything in her life seems wonderful. She’s got a high-powered job in advertising, a beautiful flat in Primrose Hill and a wild bunch of gay friends to spend the weekends with. And yet she feels like the Titanic – slowly, inexorably, and against all expectation, sinking. The truth is, CC would rather be digging turnips on a remote farm than convincing the masses to buy a life-changing pair of double-zippered jeans – rather be snuggling at home with the Missing Boyfriend than playing star fag-hag in London’s latest coke-spots. But sightings of straight men that don’t have weird fetishes or secret wives are rarer than an original metaphor, and CC fears that pursuing the Good Life alone will just leave her feeling even more isolated. Could her best friend’s pop-psychology be right? Are the horrors of CC’s past preventing her from moving on? And if CC finally does confront her demons, will she find the Missing Boyfriend? Or is it already too late?
On the surface, The Case of The Missing Boyfriend appears to be a classic ‘chick lit’ tale of a thirty-something woman looking for love but it’s actually an in depth look at lead character CC’s life over the course of a year as she copes with the ups and downs thrown at her. As the novel started, CC reminded me very much of a cross between Bridget Jones and Carrie Bradshaw; she lives and parties in London, has a successful and glamorous career in advertising, owns her own flat and has a fabulous gang of gay male friends to keep her entertained and a couple of close female friends to put things in perspective.
On paper her life is perfect but in her heart she’s not happy; her dream is a farm in the country complete with partner and child. At the age of 39 and with some bad relationships behind her, she’s beginning to question if she’ll ever find the right man or have her dream. It’s a question most of us have asked at one time or another and I found it quite refreshing that CC was entirely honest with herself about her desire to find a partner and have children. What surprised me though as I read was that this isn’t really a novel about CC finding her ideal man but actually about her taking an in-depth look at herself and trying to figure out what will make her happy.
I liked the layout of the book and with snappy titles, each chapter was like a little short story of its own which built up in the first part of the book to give a detailed picture of CC and her life. There are some very funny moments, particularly in part one as CC finds herself in Nice with an rich and intriguing business man and tries her hand at speed dating but despite the comedy there is little real romance for poor CC and the second part of the novel is altogether darker as recession hits and we find out more about CC’s family and her previous relationships. This is a novel that isn’t afraid to tackle difficult topics head on including depression, loneliness and suicide.
CC goes on quite a journey through the course of this novel and her story certainly made me think about what makes us happy and the terms in which we view success. With a surprise twist at the end, this is a story that will keep you guessing right until the very last page and I found it an original and ultimately uplifting take on the search for a happy ending.
The Case of The Missing Boyfriend is out now in paperback and ebook formats.
I’d like to thank Alison at Corvus for sending me a review copy of this novel.
Find out more about Nick Alexander and his books at: http://www.nick-alexander.com/