Monday 13 June 2011

Review: The Hating Game by Talli Roland

Do you remember the book that I was saving for my holiday in July? I didn't manage to get there. Or even close. I started reading this book on Saturday and I finished it this morning. I have no willpower when it comes to books, which is why when I was younger my Mum used to put my books for my holiday on top of my wardrobe where I couldn't reach them.

Anyway, lack of holiday reading material aside, The Hating Game by Talli Roland is a great book. It follows Mattie Johns, a woman with a reputation for going through men faster than some women eat chocolate, as she goes on a dating show in order to save her ailing business. Little does she know that the show will require her to go on dates with four of her exes. When she discovers this, she's unhappy but consoles herself with the thoughts of the prize money. After all, having her personal life splashed all over the national media is worth it for the money, right?

What's really interesting from the get-go, is that Mattie is not instantly likeable. If anything, she's the opposite. I didn't like her at the start of the book, and I couldn't warm to her. The plot was interesting though, and that carried me along until I gradually found myself softening towards the character as we discover exactly what's gone on in her life to bring her to this point. Just at the point where you start to root for her though, it turns out that not only is Mattie using the show for her own agenda, but she's just a pawn in the production team's plan to further their own careers. This may be her life, and the lives of the other contestants, but nothing is too personal to spin for publicity. But who will prevail?

This is chick-lit at it's best, light and entertaining but with serious issues at it's centre. The book looks at how traumatic events can change you. It also shows how judgemental society can be. I didn't like Mattie at the start, but as I learned more about her I realised why she acts the way she does, I made a harsh judgement without knowing the facts.  It also looks at the darker side of reality television, and how the general public laps up the humiliation of others as entertainment. There are enough twists and turns to make the books ending a bit unpredictable, but the ending still feels natural. The language is sharp and witty, and Talli paces the plot perfectly.

The one criticism I have of this book, and to be honest I think the book should come with a disclaimer simply for this very reason, is that it is impossible to read this book without getting I Want You Back by the Jackson 5 stuck in your head on a loop. I'd thoroughly recommend it though, it's definitely a good summer read.

In other exciting news, remember how I said that I'd read some of my friend Krista's manuscript and loved her writing style? It seems that I'm not the only one. She's just gotten an offer of representation from an agent! How exciting is that? You should check out her blog here.

Hope everyone had a great weekend! :)


  1. BUMMER about your summer read - guess you'll just have to buy another book for July. hehe

  2. How funny about the Jackson Five song getting stuck in your head. LOL

  3. It really is a great book. Congrats to your friend! When is she going to reveal who the agent is?

  4. Sounds like an interesting book, I might have to read it. :) Thanks for the link! :D I'll be interested to hear what you think of the rest of my book. :)

  5. Yay! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review my novel - I'm so glad you enjoyed it! :) Big congrats to your friend!

  6. It sounds very interesting. I, too, may have to read it. I am so glad your friend has an agent now! How exciting!!! The first step!

    I understand the bummer of not having enough to read though. I go through books rather fast so I totally understand!

  7. @Trisha: I know, my life is so hard! ;)
    @D.U. Okonkwo: It was funny for me, not so much for everyone else. I was a (bad) alto in the school choir. Have you ever heard a dodgy alto attempt Michael Jackson's high lead vocals for that song?
    @Alleged: I don't know, maybe when she's signed the contract. And it is a great book :)
    @Krista: No problem, and congrats again!
    @Talli: It's no problem, I loved it!
    @Heather: I know Heather! It can get to be a very expensive hobby.