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William Walker is 29 and has just married the love of his life, Isabel. This book, by Matt Rudd, is the account of the first year of his marriage. The book is written as diary extracts by William, which makes the book a quick read and easy to get into.
William is a hapless bloke, whose life is looking up after he has got a better job on a decent magazine, instead of Cat World and who loves Isabel dearly and wants to do whatever makes her happy. He is unsure that having goat's milk in his tea and taking showers instead of baths is the way to go, but he is happy to go with it. He has two equally hapless best mates in Andy and Johnson, and he detests Isabel's beat (male) friend Alex.
Obviously the path of true love doesn't run smoothly, otherwise it would be a pretty dull read. Despite William's best efforts things tend to go wrong, Alex does things right (and better) and an unfortunate encounter with one of his ex's (Saskia, The Destroyer of Relationships) means his first year of wedded bliss is actually quite stressful.
Matt Rudd is a writer for the Sunday Times and this is his first novel and has been followed up by a second - William's Progress.
I enjoyed this book; it was pacey and witty and made me laugh in places. Rudd has a great sense of humour, even if the plot got a bit far-fetched at times, whilst also being predictable so that even I picked up on the 'twist'. Whilst I found it a witty and entertaining read, it is not the male equivalent of Bridget Jones' Diary. Whilst diary formats often mean you can introduce characters and plot devices quickly without betting bogged down in descriptive passages, I found the characters to be a bit two-dimensional. Nice enough but not as charming as Bridget Jones for me. For a bit of lad-lit with cross-gender appeal this works well enough.
However I may be being a bit harsh on a book that I downloaded for free. If you are looking for a light holiday read, something witty and non-challenging this definitely fits the bill. I read it in no time and overall enjoyed it. I had no expectations of my brain being taxed, and these expectations were met. If this is the sort of thing you are looking for then I have no hesitation in recommending it. For me, it was a great come-down following a more challenging read, and it was easy to pick up and made me laugh. If I got the sequel for the same amount or a special price then I would definitely consider down-loading it.
I read the Kindle edition which I got free through a promotion. Currently the Kindle version sells for £3.99 but prices often change, so it is worth keeping an eye out if you are interested in reading. It is also available in paperback, large print hardback and audio form.
This is the first book I bought on my Amazon Kindle, it sounded funny and witty and just like the kind of book I would enjoy. I had never heard of Matt Rudd as an author, and don't usually read books with a male protagonist (not chick lit books anyway), though I don't quite know why this is! I settled down to read the book and very quickly got into it!
About the Author
Matt Rudd is an English author who also writes for the Sunday Times newspaper, he is aged 34 and lives with his wife and two children in Kent...I cannot help but think William Walker's first year of marriage was based a little closer to home than you may first think!!!
As well as William Walker's first year of marriage, there is also "William's Progress", which I have yet to read, and is a sequel to this book...which should be fun!!!
William is a 30-something average Joe and Isabel is a beautiful young lady and they together are newly weds, they live in London UK And William is expecting married life bliss, but everything starts to go wrong even from the honeymoon! But despite the bumpy road of married life things are going good, he has a great new job, a beautiful wife and things are looking good. But things are just destined to go against William when his ex girlfriend Saskia (The Destroyer of Relationships) shows up on the scene and moves in below William and Isabels flat! And then there is Alex, Isabels "best friend" who never seems to be off the scene. Throw in chucking (cold) tea at a work colleage and moving around the corner from his mother in law...and things just aren't looking up for William Walker's first year of marriage!
Opinion of the story
I really enjoyed this book. I myself am reasonably newly married (me and my husband have been married 2 and a half years!), so I understand a lot of what William is talking about with being a newlywed. The change in dynamics, the silly arguments about stupid things like who is going to put that glass in the cupboard...who is going to choose something for dinner, why did you leave a sock on the bannister...etc! So I found myself laughing and nodding along with a lot of the book remembering when these things happened to me and my husband...and still do happen with me and my husband! Though I must say I do not have a mad best friend who wants to steal me away from my husband...or at least I hope not!
The book in my opinion is well written, it is average in length (291 pages) and is written in months and days like a diary rather than in chapters which I really liked about the book. Although written like a diary, in other ways it isn't...it doesn't have short paragraphs and although written in the eyes of William, it still gives plenty if insight into the lives of the other people...more like he is telling a story rather than writing in a diary. It gives enough background to Williams life without giving too much away.
There are plenty of twists and turns and funny things which happen which you are not really expecting. Although not the average first year of marriage...I am sure some people have had worse, and though some of the things seem a little far fetched, they don't feel unrealistic in the book and you can really imagine them happening to poor William who just seems to have the worst luck imaginable.
The book is very Bridget Jones...but written in the words of a man, and I think it is enjoyable for both men and women, which is unusual for this kind of book- I could see my husband enjoying the book as much as I did...and I can imagine him nodding along with the concens William has and the discussions he wants to have with Isabel...!!! I actually think a man would appreciate the book even more than a woman as he would "understand" where William is coming from with a lot of the things he is saying whereas a woman may think "Oh get a grip man!!!!".
I really enjoyed this book, I couldn't put it down, and ended up staying up until well into the small hours reading it (annoying my hubby who was due up at 4.45am to go to work...!!!), it made me giggle, smile and think about my own marriage, it even made me appreciate it even more than I already do.
If you like a good comedy, and enjoyed Bridget Jones' Diary, then you will love this book. A definite 10 out of 10 from me, definitely a book I would pick up and read again and again as it is a book which is so easy to read and humorous that you could read it over and over and still laugh at!
The perfect book for a hen or Stag....!!!!
William Walker's First Year of Marriage by Matt Rudd is a book that I downloaded for free from Amazon for my Kindle. It sounded quite amusing, and as I didn't pay anything I had nothing to lose.
The book opens following William's marriage to Isabel, the girl of his dreams. It is written not quite in diary style, but in first person and with daily updates. Williams recounts what has happened that day, and often goes off on other subjects which take his interest, and compiles some rather silly lists. We soon learn that he doesn't like Isabel's best friend Alex, who he suspects of trying to steal Isabel, and that he is terrified of his ex, Saskia, the Destroyer of Relationships.
William is a nice guy who just wants to enjoy wedded bliss with Isabel, but of course things don't always work out that way. He has a habit of making bad decisions, often based on the bad advice of his friends, and things go wrong even when he tries to do everything right.
The story of William Walker's First Year of Marriage is very straightforward, and quite predictable after a time, but the story is really there to hold everything together - the book is more about all the incidents and silliness which seems to come along during the year. William is a good lead character and narrator, and you really want everything to go his way, and for Alex and Saskia to just disappear and let him live his life happily and peacefully. He is very endearing, and his mishaps often elicit a giggle.
While reading the book, I started to think that this was chick-lit in reverse - bloke-lit if you will. William Walker's First Year of Marriage is a pleasant, enjoyable and easy read, as chick-lit should be but so often isn't (pleasant that is, it's always easy). The gently amusing incidents, the story of the marriage and the endearing lead character all smack of good quality chick-lit - but it's being told by a man. I really enjoyed this alternative take on a well-known genre, and found William's narration and life refreshing. Although there is the love story, I found I enjoyed reading about William's general daftness more than I would some girls quest to find The One. While a book of this style could be as bad as most chick-lit tends to be, Matt Rudd has hit the nail on the head with his characters, story and style.
William Walker's First Year of Marriage is a thoroughly enjoyable read, not at all taxing and great to relax with. You'll find yourself rooting for William and Isabel, hating Alex and Saskia, and despairing of his friends advice, as well as giggling at all his mishaps. This is an excellent book to download for free, but I would recommend it even now it has moved from the free list.