Review: Overly Dramatic by Rebecca Cohen

Andy Marshall moves to London looking for a fresh start after breaking up with his long-term boyfriend. To stave off boredom from his day job as an accountant and to meet new people, Andy joins a local amateur dramatics society called the Sarky Players based in Greenwich, South London. Despite his best efforts to avoid it, Andy is cast as one of the leads in a truly dreadful play called Whoops, Vicar, There Goes My Trousers, written by a local playwright.

The play might be bad, but the Sarky Players are a friendly bunch. Andy quickly makes new friends and finds himself attracted to Phil Cormack, a local artist helping with the props. But life doesn’t run to a script, so Andy and Phil will have to work hard to improvise their own happy ending.

From page one, I had high hopes for this author's writing style. The humorous tone and witty observations were right up my street. It was these two things that kept me reading, I enjoyed the nod to modern culture - Andy and Naomi's gif war. I mean, who hasn't reposted/tweeted/pinned/e-mailed ridiculous animal gifs? No? Really, well you must have at least laughed at them right? Come on, nobody will tell your little secret, hell there are whole TV programmes dedicated to ridiculous animals! Well, I'm not to proud to admit I like a good animal gif and laughed at this bit. Mentally recognising many of the gifs mentioned may have added to the liking...

Ussie also made me laugh. Hell, she was my favourite character; 
"An octogeneraian with too much time on her hands."
She not only pens farcical plays full of double entendres, she games as a sexy elf and wishes to write erotica. Go you Ussie, grow old disgracefully and have fun!   I mean, who doesn't want to be like that when they hit their eighties? I know I do!

Unfortunately the characters was where it fell down for me, mainly because the only one I truly liked was Ussie. This means it is probably a  personal thing, because the writing wasn't bad, I just didn't really grow attached to any of the characters, not even Andy the MC, and this is a big thing for me. I need to... not even like the characters, but have an attachment to them. 

Andy seemed a bit know-it-all, Phil blew as hot and cold as a British summer, and the others seemed to be stereotypes. Naomi - cool, collected Naomi, Andy's office mate and first proper friend ends up having a slanging match with Jeanette because of some texts sent to Naomi's husband. That whole storyline annoyed the living daylights out of me, especially Andy's advice to Naomi, not that she join the players too, but that she keep an eye on Mark and Jeanette. Interfering bastard. I hate the implication that you can't have a laugh with someone (usually of the opposite gender) without it meaning you are flirting. Not even just flirting, but flirting with intention. Pisses me right off! I found it all the ,more irritating that Andy had only just become friends with these people and was dishing out advice. 

Yeah, I found it difficult to become attached to the characters, but as I said, this is truly a personal judgement and just because I didn't overly like them, doesn't mean you won't. I did enjoy the story as a whole, but I do need to invest in the characters for the story it really resonate with me.

A couple of times things were mentioned, that I stored away thinking they would be important to the story later, yet they never became an issue. This felt like a rooky writing mistake. At the start of rehearsals it is mentioned dates to keep clear and Andy notices a clash with his mum's surprise party. I really felt, the fact that this was mentioned, meant it was going to be significant to the plot later...but it wasn't at all. There is a quote by someone, possibly Alfred Hitchcock, that I can't find, so here is my mangled version of it (if anyone knows the actual quote and context please mention it in the comments):
" If there is an umbrella in scene one, it had damn well better rain by scene four."
Seeing as I seem to be particularly grumpy this morning I am going to mention a bugbear, and this is purely indulgent, definitely a me thing, and probably more to do with the publisher than the author but... I hate when books are set in England yet have an Americanised spelling. I have nothing against American spellings, nine time out of ten they make way more sense than the British version, but if it's set in England, use the English version. Please. Every time I came across the word theater I had a mental tantrum and said THEATRE, THEATRE, THEATRE. 


Sorry. Totally personal to me. I don't care about the spelling if the book is set in America, it wouldn't cross my mind (actually, the English version would then send me into my mental rant). I've just seen it in so many books and it really bugs me and takes me out of the book...again I reiterate, this is a personal thing.

Okay, so, all in all a fun book that I'm sure will be loved by many. Don;t let my personal dislikes put you off - sometimes a book is just not for everyone and I certainly didn't hate it. I'm tasked with writing a review about how I honestly felt about a book, and this is it.

A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.
Find out more at Goodreads.

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