Talking to Addison
by Jenny Colgan
Book Review by Amy Coffin
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Holly is a freelance florist, which is a fancy way of saying she's between jobs. Thirty-six hours after moving into a new flat, she's decided she can't stand her roommates. In a last ditch effort to escape "The Gestapo" as she calls them, Holly calls her friend and begs to live in his boxroom.

That day, she moves in with old schoolmates. Josh, the flatowner, is the handsome and successful bachelor who isn't too lucky with the ladies. Because of his kindness and sensitivity, everyone assumes he's gay. Kate is a self-absorbed career woman who still finds time to trade jabs with her flatmates. A recluse named Addison lives there as well. He rarely leaves his room.

Holly settles in nicely, though she has never seen Addison. His door has remained closed since she arrived. Curiosity leads her to venture into the room of her secret counterpart, and she's stunned by what she sees. Amid several beeping and flashing computers, is her tall and handsome roommate, Addison.

Holly is smitten but Addison is incapable of returning emotion. He communicates best through his keyboard. How can Holly get Addison to turn off his computers and turn on his libido? This and several other clumsy attempts at love are the products of Jenny Colgan's hilarious novel Talking to Addison.

Readers learn that Holly is competing for Addison's attention with an online girlfriend, who has a leg up because she knows more about Star Trek. We are also rewarded with the analyses of the other flatmates' screwed-up love lives. This is a funny coming of age storythe age being 30, and it's coming fast for these characters.

At first, Talking to Addison appears to be a Helen Fielding knock-off. However, once Holly settles on a plan to get Addison, she becomes a much more interesting character than Bridget Jones. Holly is more confident and a lot less pathetic. Thankfully, she doesn't whine about her weight or keep a diary based on alcohol and sex.

This novel is set in London, so get out your British/American slang translation book. Think of the characters as a younger, trendier, sluttier, more sophisticated and entertaining version of the Friends group. There are several references to 80's pop culture, making this an ideal read for people between their quarter and mid-life crises.

Talking to Addison is extremely funny. The "first kiss" scene is guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. Colgan draws heavily on her past experience as a comedian and the effort pays off. That she was able to make an unpublished comic strip into this full-fledged novel is even more impressive.

This is a great book, though it will be treasured most by generation-Xers. Can you  appreciate Colgan's reference to Scritti Politti? If you fit the demographic, you must read this book.

Talking to Addison was a hit in Britain and it should be readily accepted across the pond as well. Colgan's tale of young Brits finding love in the 21st century is fresh and comical. This novel may bear a slight resemblance to the Bridget Jones category of books, but it's funnier, racier and just plain better. Talking to Addison is the ideal novel for those craving a lighthearted intelligent look into  the complexities of romance in the age of the Internet.

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Also by Jenny Colgan
Amanda's Wedding
Amanda's Wedding
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