'Ed Middleton is ecstatic: he’s just got engaged to his girlfriend, Sam, and he couldn’t be happier. At least, he thinks he’s engaged. The thing is, it was Sam who did the proposing, and the more he thinks about it, the less he’s sure that she was actually asking him to marry her. She could have just been asking the question, you know…hypothetically. As the wedding day draws nearer, Ed becomes more and more uneasy. Sam keeps disappearing off for furtive meetings and private phone calls, and when he spies her going into a pub with a man he’s never seen before, all his old jealousies and insecurities threaten to re-surface. It’s the perfect time for Ed’s unhinged ex-girlfriend, Jane, to show up on his doorstep. Meanwhile, Dan – Ed’s best-friend and soon-to-be-best-man – is determined to throw him a stag night to remember. And when a severely hung-over Ed wakes up the morning after the night before to see a second dent in the pillow, it seems as if Dan has got his wish. Will Ed manage to find out the truth about his stag night as well as the identity of Sam’s secret man? Or will an accidental proposal lead them both down the aisle to a wedding neither of them ever imagined? '
Ed is getting married to his girlfriend Sam, the woman of his dreams. They’d been living together happily for some time, when one night Sam asked Ed to marry her. Or at least he thinks she did; it’s only when Ed is telling the news to his best mate Dan that he realises that he’s not absolutely sure that Sam was proposing – was she actually just asking whether he wanted to get married ‘some day’? Much hilarity then ensues, with Ed doing his best to subtly find out whether Sam does genuinely want to tie the knot, ‘helped’ of course by the inimitable Dan. The reappearance of Ed’s ex Jane leads to further complications, and all the while, Ed is running out of time with the wedding day getting ever closer.
The relationship between Ed and Dan is the real backbone of this book; some of the conversations between them – which mainly take place in their local pub – are nothing short of hilarious. Dan, in particular, is a fantastic character: he’s not the sharpest tool in the box bless him, but thanks to his vast collection of ‘Cosmopolitan’ back issues, he’s sure that not only is he an expert on women, but he’s God’s gift to them too. His verbal slip-ups are a constant source of amusement throughout the novel.
The only downside to the importance of Ed and Dan’s friendship is that I didn’t find out very much about Sam. I wanted to like her because Ed adores her, but I didn’t really get much of an impression of Sam other than that’s she’s a personal fitness trainer who won’t let Ed eat muffins (which didn’t exactly endear me to her!).
I thought that Matt Dunn did very well with his working of the homeless character Billy. Billy is intelligent and witty, and gives Ed some very good advice; his friendship with Ed and Ed’s treatment of him were very clever ways to illustrate Ed’s kind character: no matter how daft he is, the reader remembers how he is with Billy and never forgets that Ed really is a good guy
Dunn’s style of writing is very laid back and witty – the characters are the absolute essence of the book. He doesn’t use a lot of description of setting or environment; the key is the people, not where they are. This makes for a very relaxed easy read and a very close relationship between the reader and the main characters.
The book stopped just a little too soon for me, the ending didn’t seem quite complete, but I do love that the loose end is just ripe to be turned into a sequel: hopefully we’ll be seeing more of Ed’s dilemmas and Dan’s verbal slip-ups in the very near future!
Will Jackson is a desperate man – desperate to be a dad, that is. Tired of his laddish lifestyle, he’s redecorated the spare room, traded in his beloved sports car for a 4×4, and even drawn up a list of his favourite baby names. In fact, there’s only one thing left he’s got to do – find a female who’ll have his child. But where on earth is he going to find a woman who meets his exacting standards? Certainly not in the usual bars and clubs he frequents. But Will has a plan – you can find everything else on the Internet these days – so why not someone to start a family with? From Friends Reunited, through the weird world of online dating, even to auctioning his ‘services’ on Ebay, Will’s journey to paternity is a hilarious romp through the pitfalls of procreation. But when push comes to shove, is Will prepared to trade passion for Pampers? What do men really look for when it comes to starting a family? Can the perfect mother also be the perfect partner, or are there more important things than a nice-fitting pair of genes?
I'd never heard of Matt Dunn before reading this novel, but I’m glad that I gave him a chance. I was given the book by Ally, who is usually a very good judge of what I’ll enjoy. I was sold when she said it was funny and had babies: what more could I ask for?
‘From Here To Paternity’ centres around a character called Will Jackson: Will is a life coach, he owns a lovely flat in Richmond and earns £100 an hour. Oh, and his office overlooks Ann Summers. Every young man’s dream life, right? Not if you’re Will. Will has decided that he is fed up of being alone and wants to become a father; all he needs to do is to find someone willing to be the mother of his child, so he sets out to find a suitable woman by his next birthday. Cue some amusing moments with online dating nutters, blind dates and cleaning ladies.
Will is aided [or at least laughed at] in his endeavours by his best friend Tom [a struggling actor] and his wife, Barbara [who seems to be really mean!]. This couple have the life that Will aspires to, yet he is completely incapable of taking any of their advice when it comes to how he can get the same thing.
I did really enjoy this book. The writing style was engaging and I read it in two sittings; Will’s character is endearing and his mother is mad but great. The only characters that I didn’t really like were Barbara [possibly because I'm a little scared of her!] and Tom [who seemed a bit useless!]. I didn’t think that the problems between Will and his father were very well dealt with – these issues are used as a convenient excuse for the history of Will’s love life, so I would have thought that Will and his father’s relationship should be an important part of the story, but I feel it’s dealt with far too quickly. My second teeny gripe is the rather abrupt ending of the book with everything suddenly sorted out in the last couple of chapters.
That being said, the ending is lovely and really heart warming, if a little predictable: it’s just the ticket if you want to curl up with in an armchair with a cup of tea. You’ll smile and laugh and by the end, feel a lot better about the world!
3 and a half stars