By: Simon Smith
Publication Date: December 2021
Reviewed By: Amy Lignor
There are more than a few things a man and woman have in common. And when you’re talking about a lonely man and woman, those commonalities skyrocket in number. In other words, lonely is the bottom of the barrel. It’s annoying, it’s painful at times, and it’s a state of mind that makes you seriously angry when one of your own siblings is all excited about getting hitched and talking about “once upon a time” constantly. I knew these things to be facts way before I opened this book. A book that, at times, is fun, humorous and cute; and at other times (for some readers, especially) may go too far when it comes to the telling of sex escapades. But I wouldn’t suggest that the latter turn you away from reading this because, in the end, it’s a heartfelt tale “starring” an interesting character, broken into 11 separate stories.
Right away I liked the protagonist, Jack Kemp; I understood his annoyances, as well. This early-thirties English journalist living in Glasgow, Scotland is someone you definitely want to sit with and have a cup of coffee. It’s important to note here that the definition of “Weegie” is a native or inhabitant of Glasgow: a Glaswegian. (See? Everything already fits!)
Anyway, poor Jack does have an older sibling, a bro who is marrying that ‘perfect’ love that you find once in a lifetime (yeah, right) leaving Jack to feel a bit crabby and turning to the world of dating apps (Yikes!) to perhaps find the perfect love of his very own.
Now, there are millions of people on these apps; heck, even I get emails on a daily basis asking me to join them. So when Jack jumps on the dating app called “Hinge” in this collection, the tale unfolds in short stories that are beyond realistic and incredibly thoughtful at the same time.
Scenes are told with truth, which means no rules or restrictions apply when it comes to descriptions, but this actually is a good thing. The scenes become hilarious and you find yourself giggling through every embarrassing moment Jack has during his foray into online dating services. You want him to actually achieve his goal more than anything else in the world. After all, if this guy can get love, that should make the rest of us lonely people feel the self-esteem and hope we might be missing.
I am going to thank the author, Simon Smith, here. Why? Because he created his main character, and the others around him, so clearly and colorfully that the book feels like a self-help handbook that one and all should either put to use or read just to know what NOT to do in these sticky situations.
From banal things, like worrying about what to post on a website you’re making (i.e., what photos make you look charming and debonair versus smiling wide and ending up looking like a serial killer on the hunt); to more intense situations, like hooking up with swingers, everything Jack Kemp does is an adventure. An “A” for originality, this is definitely not a book that’s been done before! The only thing I would suggest to the author is that if there’s a next title forthcoming, an editor should be part of the process.
Quill says: Preach, Simon Smith! This author has done a great job penning a book that will place a permanent smile on readers’ faces.