STORYLINE: A cash strapped businesswoman gets the chance to be on a dating game show, which will save her from financial ruin. The twist on The Hating Game is that all of the men are her ex-lovers. The main character goes through hell and high water to salvage her business, but discovers that money is not always the bottom line.
PLAYERS: Mattie Johns – is a tough-as-nails character, who isn’t easy to like. I got past her orneriness because of how much I laughed while reading The Hating Game. She’s mean – no doubt about that, but her history has a lot to do with her behaviour – children live what they learn, and all that.
I LIKED: the humor that runs through the book. It runs to snarky, however, I didn’t feel obligated to think kind thoughts about most of the people around Mattie because they were trying to take advantage of her.
I COULD HAVE LIVED WITHOUT: the dislocation Mattie goes through as part of the reality show. When she’s taken to the boondocks, with an ulterior motive by the production team, some of her mental exhaustion, physical discomfort and outrage became mine. The storyline does make me wonder just how far game shows go for ratings. I could tell you about this disgusting thing I saw recently on a reality show, but I’d be wandering off track, not mention making you want to vomit.
OVERALL COMMENTS: Going from the cover and blurb, I thought the subject matter sounded light and so I wondered why the book had so many pages. Not the thoughts of a bright person, I know, but as I followed the situations Mattie got thrown into, I realized that the book has substance. It showed me that life has a way of giving us exactly what we set ourselves up for based on our attitude. Another thing I’m reminded of is that no matter how self-contained and independent we think we are, every girl needs a friend who has her back. And then there’s the danger of putting aside our principles and doing just about anything to keep a job.
The pacing is good and the story kept me reading. I think the writer did a good job capturing the wit of the English. Character-wise, Mattie does not do a magical 360° turn around in the book. She’s stubborn, hard-headed and unforgiving, but during the journey I came to understand how she turned into the person I met on the first page.
One thing that makes the book different is the factoids at the start of each chapter. I enjoyed those.
The last time I had such fun reading a book was when I read Mad Cows by a British author. Based on the cover-to-cover humor and story pacing, I’m looking forward to reading this writer’s next book.
RATING: The Hating Game is a truly awesome read.