What I Did For Love...What I Did For Love… by M.G. Woods
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. You might be forgiven for taking this as a romance at first sight, especially given the cover. What I Did For Love is a dry observational comedy. There is a cast of characters that would make it good for TV.

Told from James Meade’s perspective in a reflective manner, we get little clues throughout about future events that hook you in. We meet his oldest friend, the love of his life, her parents and his family. There’s drama in it all, and the outcome is often funny. Some of it even has a slapstick element to it. One of my favourite characters was his work colleague Tessa, married to a debt collector. Her dialogue and behaviour was amazing.

The premise is straightforward, but the story is anything but. James is smitten at first sight by Lucy, and it’s mutual. Their first date ends up as a visit to A&E, but that still doesn’t stop them getting to bed and making a baby. With a relationship on fast forward there’s a lot of ground to cover and there are mishaps, misunderstandings and misadventures. Not least of which is James’s dysfunctional family. Living at one remove from them in London he hadn’t quite appreciated their level of dysfunction, but their situation has a disastrous effect on his relationship with Lucy.

A good chunk of the action is James trying to uncover the family secrets so that he can make amends with Lucy.

I empathised very well with the main character, his reaction to becoming a father made a lot of sense. If you’re a parent, or over 30, then you’re likely to recognise a lot of the story, either from your own life or from those that you know.

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