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Talking to Addison    by Jenny Colgan order for
Talking to Addison
by Jenny Colgan
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2003 (2002)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I chuckled and even chortled all the way through Talking to Addison. It's the tale of twenty-eight-year-old Holly Livingstone, a 'freelance florist', who is feckless in the style recently popularized by Bridget Jones's Diary. After a series of disastrous 'flatshares', culminating in one with three Gestapo phlebotomists, Holly moves into a 'coffin' masquerading as a boxroom, in a flat shared by her college friends Josh and Kate. The latter is an ultra-successful workaholic, with whom Holly shares some unfortunate history. Josh is Pollyanna-nice, but all three of them have some doubt as to his sexual orientation. A mysterious fourth occupant turns out to be the elusive Addison; a Trekkie and C Plus Plus programmer, who taps away at his computer and rarely emerges.

Holly hurtles through a long series of unfortunate encounters, in which she rarely gets it right, especially those with string theory physicist Finn. When she finally glimpses Addison, she is stunned by his looks, and he becomes a challenge for her. Holly is desolated to discover that Addison has an Internet (and equally reclusive) girlfriend, and that a 'fat agoraphobic bomb-maker four thousand miles away was doing better with Addison than I was.' In the interests of improving the flatmates' love lives, Josh decides to throw a party, which is only a moderate success since 'Nobody vomited all over anybody's bed. Nobody got pregnant. The police didn't even come once' and the unconscious body on the doorstep was brought by someone so didn't count.

After a long meander, the plot settles down to center on a hospital bed. In attendance at various times are the flatmates; Dr. Hitler; God; Josh's conservative candidate flame looking for a photo op; a talk show host preparing a Christmas special in June; Holly's florist chum Chali who is 'sleeping my way to the top of the music business'; and Chali's heavy metal band Mr. Big and the Spangles who sing their own peculiar version of carols. It's great comedy and commentary on modern lifestyles, sparkling with Brit wit, a hilarious cast of minor characters, and terms like 'snog' and 'binbags' which make it exotic for the North American reader. All in all, Talking to Addison is a perfect antidote to the winter blahs, guaranteed to make you laugh out loud.

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