The Debt and the Doormat: Laura Barnard

DEBT

Poppy and Jazz have been best friends from the first week of university. Whenever these two get together trouble isn’t far away and things haven’t changed much. When Jazz gets herself into financial trouble Poppy, being a good friend, offers to help. She instead ends up being talked into swapping lives, with Jazz insisting it will be good and help her get over her broken heart. Poppy is thrown into a new life, full of crazy housemates. There’s fitness freak Izzy, horrendously beautiful bitch Grace and the slightly gorgeous, if not incredibly grumpy Ryan.Quickly, with the help of Jazz, her life is thrown upside down. Madness ensues and her need to please everyone gets her in more trouble than she could ever imagine. Before she knows it she’s got a fake boyfriend and is hiding so many secrets she’s scared they’ll spill out any minute. With a bullying boss, a sex crazed colleague, a mental mother and three brothers each with their own dramas, life has gotten pretty difficult for Poppy. And all of this would be much easier, if she could just stop falling over.Will she get her life back to normal before her brother’s upcoming wedding? And will she want to?

WOW. Quite a synopsis right. Once you’ve got through that lot the book revolves mainly around two best friends that decide to swap lives, each with the plan to change their current situation and get their lives back on track. Simple? Anything but! It focuses on two best friends Poppy and Jazz, two friends from university, two peas in a pod that could not be more different! Poppy is sensible and grounded; Jazz lives a life that doesn’t stick by the rules, fun fuelled and shopping mad! However this comes to an abrupt shock when Jazz realises that she has managed to run up a debt of thousands of pounds. Poppy, being the best friend she can be, offers to swap lives to give Jazz an idea of how she lives her life, to show Jazz you can have fun without spending every penny. The results are hilarious. By swapping houses, and making a pact to change their lives completely Poppy is thrown into a life of difficult house-mates, alcohol fuelled nights (hangovers!), and difficult situations!

I honestly thought the plot line was steady and the way the characters were told was brilliant. You really got a sense of how different the characters were with Poppy being the steady and gentle type, whilst Jazz being spontaneous, and bubbly. Their friendship was infectious and I often found myself smiling thinking whether I could swap lives with one of my friends. The story is really set on the friendship that they have and it is a steady core for the other characters that filter into the story including Izzy, Grace and Ryan. These characters are well presented and have extremely different character profiles allowing for a diverse and interesting plot line that weaves between each of the characters succinctly.

Although I did enjoy the book I found that there were a few problems. Unfortunately there were a couple of mistakes through the book and this started to annoy me as I continued through the book. (Maybe another edit was needed!) I also found that some of the plot lines and events were too overplayed and unrealistic which left me feeling a little cold. There are a couple of chapters that are really over thought and over written that I thought let down the book and it meant that for a couple of chapters I started to lose attention! I read another review of this book that argued that novel was written more as a television show rather than a book. Through re-reading I would definitely agree that at times the story becomes disjointed and at times it seems there are separate episodes rather than a full story which is a shame as some of the ideas and the characters are really well written. I would recommend this as a light read but don’t expect to much, for it’s ideas and it’s concept it’s brilliant but a tighter and stricter edit could have really pushed this to be a better book.

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