My rating: 5 of 5!
Published: the 8th of January 2019
Written by: Nick Spalding
Length: 293 pages
Source: Free copy generously provided.
Disclaimer: I was lucky enough to receive a free copy of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review. However, please note that all opinions and views are my own.
From the bestselling author of Fat Chance and Checking Outcomes a hilarious story about giving up… but definitely notgiving in.
Kate and Scott’s marriage has always been a lot of fun, with alcohol at the heart of it. After all, what’s more entertaining than a good laugh and a large drink… or six?
But recently, those relaxing drinks have become more crutch than comfort—and the couple have almost forgotten how to talk to each other sober.
Then their teenage daughter Holly uploads a video of their humiliating drunken escapades, which gets picked up by YouTube superstar PinkyPud—and goes horrifyingly viral.
In a last-ditch attempt to prove to the world they’re more than just boozy idiots, Kate and Scott quit alcohol completely. But with Holly’s… er… ‘help’, what begins as a family promise soon escalates into a social media phenomenon: #DryHard!
With the eyes of the Internet upon them, can Kate and Scott stay teetotal—and save their marriage in the process?
The first person we meet is Kate. As a PR she’s attending a wedding for a new client, along with one of her colleagues. At this wedding Kate isn’t happy or even remotely okay with being there, so she unknowingly drowns her sorrows in Prosecco. After (at least) one too many glasses of the sparkly wine, her alcohol induced mind throws caution to the wind and find it a totally good idea to drive a tractor. Who wouldn’t!
I know I should only have the one drink right now, as I still haven’t had anything to eat yet. The smells of cooking coming from somewhere unidentifiable, being borne through the open barn on the light summer breeze, tell me that food is in my near future. This appeals greatly to my stomach, but not so much to my brain, which has now had its first hit of alcohol and wants more.
Then it’s time to meet Scott, who’s a marketing director for a gin distillery. Part of his job is to promote the companies alcoholic beverages and convince clients they’re ahmazing, by drinking it. Yep, this man is basically paid to drink and tell people how great the gin is. But when he almost burns down an event, after thinking it’s a great idea for himself to be in charge of the fireworks. Both Kate and Scott have a shared epiphany during their drunken escapades: things are better when they’re together!
But when Kate and Scott join drinking forces on Christmas, their 17 year old daughter, Holly, has had enough. She films their out of control, embarrassing and quite frankly pathetic behaviour, to show them what they really look like. But when mum and dad doesn’t take her serious, she decides to take drastic measures. She uploads the entire thing to YouTube. Thanks to a big time Vlogger named PinkyBud sharing it with his audience, the entire thing goes viral. Not only are Kate and Scott proper named and shamed in the public sphere, they’re also forced to take a closer look at what they’re labelling “just having a good time”. Following this they both decide to go sober for an entire year, and Holly are to upload regular recordings of how they’re doing, to her YouTube channel. This is how #DryHard comes to be the new way of living in the Temple household.
Holly records her father’s antics on her iPhone with mounting horror.
‘Kate! Kate! Look at this!’ Scott Temple giggles with drunken glee as he thrusts his groin into the large Scots pine sat in the corner of the living room. ‘Jus’ like that dog we saw last week when we went to get the tree, eh?’
‘Scott! For crying out loud! My … my mother’s here! Kate cries in the mock horror from her position on the blue couch, next to her thrusting husband.
Going from needing alcohol to just getting by on a day to day basis, both Kate and Scott are forced into coping with life in a different way. Like that’s not enough, the big time Vlogger that’s sooo interested in “helping” out Holly turn this into a career, is obviously just a slimy no good dude that’s taking advantage of their poor vulnerable teenage daughter. But when they can’t even pull their own lives together and live up to the promises they make to her, how can they even hope to help someone who just wants to get away from them?
Earlier in the year – okay the year basically just started so it’s only really like a few weeks ago – I stumbled across one of Nick Spalding’s books. And in the genre of romance there’s so many authors that it can sometime be hard to spot the uniqueness in their writing, because most things have been done (and over done) so many times. Enter Nick Spalding who most definitely has a unique voice. When I requested this book from Netgalley I was a bit worried, that it wouldn’t live up to the pedestal I have placed Nick on but my worries were unnecessary. This story had me laughing out loud over and over again, but my personal favourite quote:
‘You don’t sound fine, Kate. What’s going on?’
Oh Christ. Oh fuck. Oh shit. What do I do? What do I tell him? I can’t just pretend I’m fine any more!
Think of something, you dim-witted cow!
‘I’ve got the shits,’ I blurt out.
Yes … what indeed, you drunken clot?
‘The shits! Really bad ones.’
‘Yes! And … and my period. It’s a really, really heavy one!’
Oh fucking hell. That’s really gilding the bloody lily, isn’t it? Either terrible excuse would probably have been enough, but no – I have to throw them both out there, like a total fool. I should just tell him I’ve come down with the Ebola virus while I’m at it, and have done.
As this book is all about a very serious issue: alcoholism, Nick is taking a big risk by almost making it a laughing stock in his sarcastic and fun novella. But it not only works, it’s such a breath of fresh air, from all the politically correctness going on in the world. And even though the book is served with a lot of humour, Nick doesn’t make light of the struggle. The fact that the chapters are from different point of view, also helps to connect with the Temple family. The only thing I would want to change if possible, is that Holly’s chapters are third person point of view, whereas Kate & Scott’s are first person. That doesn’t help me connect with Holly, as much as I do with her parents. But then again, it doesn’t ruin the story as teenagers can be hard to connect with under any circumstances.
Have you read this book, or any other books by the author? Do you like to read books about a serious subject, served with a healthy dose of humour? Let’s chat in the comments!
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