Saturday, 15 December 2012

Book Review: Tolulope Popoola's "Nothing Comes Close"

What started off as an online series, called In My Dreams It Was Simpler, which followed 'the adventures of six intelligent and vivacious ladies - Lola, Funmi, Titi, Dolapo, Temmy and Maureen', became a co-authored book of the same name. In her debut novel, Nothing Comes Close, Tolulope Popoola has taken two characters from the series, Lola and Wole (who was introduced in episode 19 of Series 1 - told you it was a series), and shows us that 'the course of true love never did run smooth'. 

In her group of friends Lola, a Financial Analyst, is sassy and straight to the point, saying what she means (even if it's really blunt) before even thinking. Wole, who she first meets at her friend Titi's birthday party is a Project Manager, who on the surface seems like Mr.Right - good looking, good job, and a gentleman. But something is lurking beneath the surface, and Wole's past could pose a threat not only to his present, but to his and Lola's future. 

Nothing Comes Close starts off as your usual 'boy-meets-girl', boy and girl have an instant connection, boy starts 'toasting' (wooing) girl, but that's where the simple formula ends. There are plots and twists in this story that I really wasn't expecting. Wole's past for instance threw me off. I mean I kind of guessed he had a secret past, because what's a leading man if he's not tall, dark, handsome and mysterious, right? I have to say I wasn't expecting to get the past that I did. And that is what I loved about Nothing Comes Close. Not only the writing (which is really accessible), and the characters (who were really relatable - I am sure each of us might knows a girl or two out there like Lola and her friends), it's also unpredictable. This made me want to read more. Honestly, I wanted to know more, but not only about what would happen next with Lola and Wole, but also the other characters (like Lola's friends whose lives we also get glimpses of).

There was another reason I enjoyed reading this novel if I'm being really honest. I saw Nothing Comes Close as more chick-lit than romance. And here's a secret, I am a sucker for a good (or even bad) chick-flick. I may not instantly gravitate towards chick-lit at a bookstore, but a chick-flick is my guilty pleasure. And I could really see Nothing Comes Close as a chick-flick.

Its setting mainly in London (with bits of Milton Keynes and Lagos sprinkled in), and the authenticity in the way the characters spoke and interacted, also made the whole process of visualisation even better for me. I could picture Wole and Lola on their date at Bar Salsa, Lola and her friends going out for drinks on a Friday night, Lola going underground to catch a tube home, and Wole and his friends during poker night.

Nothing Comes Close was a very enjoyable debut novel, made even better with its relatable characters and unpredictability. Just like some movies, where you have to stay until after the credits, if you think you're done reading Nothing Comes Close, there's more. Which leads me to one question - is there a sequel? 

3.75 out of 5 stars

No comments:

Post a Comment