Turning Thirty
Mike Gayle
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Turning Thirty

Mike Gayle
Downtown Press
357 pages
November 2005
rated 3 1/2 of 5 possible stars
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Matt Beckford thinks his life is exactly on track for turning thirty. Heís got a stable relationship with his live-in girlfriend, Elaine, a fabulous job in America, and things are progressing with his life plan. Until they arenít. His relationship with Elaine fizzles. They stay friends, but living together just isnít right thing anymore. Matt transfers to Australia, but thereís a three-month lag time before the new job begins. His only choice? Move back home to England and live with his parents.

Although living with the parents isnít the ideal situation, itís not horrible. Matt has time to reconnect with his old friends, many of whom he hasnít seen for years. He even runs into his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Ginny, and the two must decide whether they want to get involved in another relationship. Suddenly, turning thirty is a bit more daunting than Matt had originally planned. Can friends and family help him weather the first major aging milestone?

Turning Thirty is an enjoyable lad lit novel. Interestingly set in both America and England, it allows the reader to relate to the setting no matter where they happen to hail from. Matt is a fairly sympathetic character. His morals leave a little to be desired at times, but for the most part, heís an all-around good guy with a good heart. Mike Gayleís presentation is humorous and doesnít get into a format rut. There are e-mail messages, Mattís conversations with himself, and ďtemperature takingĒ as his thirtieth birthday approaches.

The only criticism I have is that the story drags out too long. A first person viewpoint is entertaining, but after awhile it gets whiny and self-absorbed. More careful editing would have made the flow smoother and the pace quicker, achieving the same purpose without getting so bogged down in the details. Overall, Turning Thirty is worth reading, whichever side of that fateful birthday you happen to fall on.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Melissa Parcel, 2005

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