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After being dumped six times in a row, 28 year old Sass decides that dating and relationships aren’t worth the trouble and goes on a dating sabbatical, which means that she can’t date (obviously), kiss or flirt with men.  To her surprise she finds it enjoyable, and becomes more assertive and proactive in her life.  The only problem is the rather gorgeous and funny Jake, who Sass keeps running into and against all her own rules, finds very sexy.

Now, chicklit is not really my favourite genre, but I like it sometimes if I fancy a nice easy read.  However, this is the second book I’ve read by Gemma Burgess (although The Dating Detox was the first one to be published), and I have really enjoyed both of them.

Sass’s experience was less about waiting for any half-decent man to come along, and more about growing as a person and deciding what she wants from life.  The story is told in first-person present-tense, and Sass is an engaging and likeable narrator.  I also loved her totally believable friendships with best mates Bloomie and Kate, who are dealing with their own personal and professional problems.  The characters – Sass particularly – are very relatable.  We all know people like Bloomie and Kate.  (And yes, Jake is rather lovely!)

The story moves along nicely, with some genuinely funny moments.  It makes a pleasant change to read a book about dating and relationships, that also focuses on the positive side of being single and learning to stand on your own two feet.  It’s definitely aimed at female readers, and yes it is very ‘chicklitty’ but it’s fresh and pacy, and gave me lots to smile at.

(Author’s website can be found here.)

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This Clark Gable/Jean Harlow/Myrna Loy film is billed as a comedy, but I thought it was more of a drama, albeit with some funny moments.  Gable (at his most gorgeous – I swooned!) is Van Stanhope, successful publishing executive, who is happily married to Linda (Myrna Loy).  Van’s secretary Helen Wilson, known as Whitey, is played by Jean Harlow.  Linda (wrongly) begins to suspect that Van is cheating on her with Whitey, and her suspicions threaten to destroy their marriage.

All three leads were wonderful.  This was actually the first film I had seen Jean Harlow in, and it was not hard to see why she was so adored.  She was an original blonde bombshell, and I don’t think that most photos of her do her justice.  Gable was wonderful as Van, a devoted husband who was so shrewd in business, but so utterly incapable of recognising his tendency to place himself in situations that made him look guilty even when he wasn’t.  Myrna Loy was beautiful as the confused Linda, who started the film full of warmth and happiness, and became colder and more remote as her suspicions chipped away at her.  James Stewart also appeared in the film as Whitey’s boyfriend Dave, who has his own suspicions about her and Van.  It was a small role, the likes of which Stewart would not play again once his own star had risen in Hollywood, but as ever, he was endearing and sweet.

As mentioned earlier, there were fewer laughs than I had expected, but lots of emotion, and I really enjoyed this film.  I would recommend it to fans of any of the three main leads, or anyone who just enjoys good films.

Year of release: 1936

Director: Clarence Brown

Producers: Hunt Stromberg, Clarence Brown

Writers: Norman Krasna, John Lee Mahin, Alice Duer Miller, Faith Baldwin (story from Cosmopolitan magazine)

Main cast: Clark Gable, Myrna Loy, Jean Harlow

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