Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
BlokeMiles: Matthew Ravden, July 1—6, 2014
My rating: ♦♦♦◊◊
Three men devise a novel way to get permission from their wives to attend the Rugby Cup final in Australia: BlokeMiles. It is a domestic equivalent of airmiles, accrued by helping round the house and spent doing ‘blokey’ activities. Essentially, it allows the chaps to enjoy time to themselves without feeling guilty about it.
The BlokeMiles transactions don’t feature too heavily. The book is in four parts: parts 1 and 4 are narrated by Rob, parts 2 and 3 are in third person from the perspectives of Brian and Donald respectively. Each part gives an insight into the men’s marriages.
What makes this book so interesting is that it is written about men, by a man, and the male voice is very, very clear. It was described by my partner as “d*ck lit”, or chick lit for men. Somewhere in there, every man will find himself and his relationship described. The female perspective is provided by the wives. Not traditionally male material, but the reflection of the many problems you’ll face is reassuringly familiar – you’re not alone.
Funny in parts and more poignant in others, the complexity of human relationships with partners, friends and kids is well handled. There are some good surprises, too, and a couple of twists you won’t expect. The three lead men are likeable and distinct, while their wives are also recognisable and sympathetically portrayed.
The book’s main weakness is in its direction. It starts off well, but towards the World Cup final, when the men and women are not together, the concept of BlokeMiles and the general marital drama is suspended in the wives’ absence. We therefore have a bit of a dearth of action, where everything drags a little. The ending is also disappointing, with a sugary convenience to it all, tying everything up in a way that undermines the realistic description of the issues.
An entertaining summer read that crystallises male love – for wives and for friends.