From Notting Hill with Love...Actually by Ali McNamara
Who doesn’t love a good rom-com? Who doesn’t periodically quote a movie, or try to find things from a movie in everyday life? We all do, a little, with a particular book or movie that means something to us. Scarlett is a twenty-something who lives in Stratford-upon-Avon and is seven weeks away from being married to David. She is constantly getting into trouble with daydreaming different movie scenes, or drawing lines on how real life parallels the movies (and not the other way around). Her friends and family, and her fiancé, are worried about Scarlett’s flights of fancy and hope that she will not turn out like her mother, who left when Scarlett was two.
Scarlett’s best friend finds her a house-sitting gig in the Notting Hill area of London for a month, so that Scarlett can get away to prove to herself and her family that life does imitate the movies. This is the first problem I have with the book – Scarlett’s constant attempts to find movie scenes in real life. No one stands up to her to point out the movies imitate life, not the other way around. Yes, we would all like to have a fairy-tale ending, but we can create that ourselves instead of trying to find it or becoming upset when it does not happen.
Scarlett had great potential to grow in this story, but did not. It seemed that the characters were shown with flaws and did nothing to correct them. There was no true confrontation so that the characters simply settled. Having a rushed ending of the story did not allow any development of character or items to be resolved.
There were a few funny scenes in the book, like a Star Wars wedding. There were various items that were mentioned, though, but never followed all the way through. Some items seemed rushed (like the ending) and at times, I wanted to shake Scarlett and tell her to grow up! Though there was nothing major enough to make me NOT like the book. This story was fairly well written and had a fun premise, but Scarlett was a bit annoying in how ‘lost in movies’ she seemed to be. None of the characters were fully fleshed out, but I loved Oscar’s character! It was a fun read with a surprise(?) ending.