Leah's Reviews > The Dating Detox

The Dating Detox by Gemma Burgess
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Dec 21, 09

it was amazing
bookshelves: books-read-2009, for-review
Read in December, 2009

After being dumped six times in a row, twenty-something Sass decides enough is enough. On a night out with her friend Bloomie, Sass decides to begin The Dating Detox. For three months Sass will abide by numerous rules including: not making any new man-friends, not flirting with any man and most importantly, not going on any dates. Will Sass be able to abide by The Dating Detox for three whole months? After the three months is up, will Sass go back to her destructive dating lifestyle or will she decide that, actually, being on her own is a lot more fun and far less hassle?

The Dating Detox first came to my attention a while back when it was due to be released under the title of The Dating Sabbatical. I heard the synopsis and thought it sounded incredibly interesting and, most importantly, rather unique. I love a unique chick lit book. Gemma Burgess very kindly offered to send me this to review and I couldn’t wait for it to arrive so I could get started on it straight away. It’s taken me a few days (football/X Factor got in the way it seems!) but I have finally finished The Dating Detox. And, boy, did I love it.

The plot, as I mentioned, is a very unique one. Not in the fact that Sass is a regular twenty-something who gets drunk/dates a lot, but in the fact that Sass decides to quit men for good. Well, three months anyway. No book I’ve read has ever, out-and-out, had it’s main character stop dating full stop… until now! I wondered how the romance would come into the book since Sass has sworn off men for good, and I knew the romance aspect would undoubtedly be a big part to the storyline, as the book is essentially a rom-com so it was great to see the book unfold in it’s entirety. I was immediately sucked into Sass’s world and I thought Gemma tapped into the mind of a twenty-something serial dater pretty well. We learn early on about Sass’s six break-ups which have caused her to start her Detox and they were equally amusing and cringe-worthy in the way in which they happened. I could sympathise with Sass as we learn of each of her break-ups but, wow, she hadn’t half dated some losers. It made the Detox make sense, I must say!

The book actually skips over the three-months of the actual Detox and I thought I’d missed something out, as the blurb makes it appear as if after the three months, Sass will immediately give it all up. I actually love the fact she embraced her new single status and went out of her way to not go out on dates. It was actually quite a refreshing experience to see Sass want to stay single, rather than go back on all of her hard work throughout the detox and begin dating losers again. I could see completely why Sass was terrified of entering back into the dating world and did wonder if she would ever make that leap again.

All of the characters in The Dating Detox are fantastic. Sass is the perfect heroine as she has her flaws and, unlike most twenty-somethings, she doesn’t have the perfect life and isn’t afraid to speak her mind. I loved her from the get-go and any twenty-something will find it easy to relate to Sass. What makes the book though are the ensemble cast around Sass. Her best friends Bloomie and Kate were fantastic and the relationship between the three of them was portrayed very realistically. They had their moments, did the three friends, but when it all came down to it, they all pulled together regardless of all of the problems they all had to face. I adored Bloomie and would love to have her as a friend. In fact I’d love all three of the girls to be my friend. While the book is about love and finding the right man, albeit with a Dating Detox thrown in, it’s also about female friendships and that was an aspect of the book I loved. I loved Jake, who Sass meets one night and keeps bumping into with alarming regularity. I kept waiting and hoping he would appear throughout the book and I was so pleased when he did. There were a few more characters throughout the book, Sass’s friends and Sass’s ex-boyfriends but it’s mainly Sass, Bloomie, Kate and Jake who are our main focus.

The Dating Detox isn’t written in a spectacular way and I don’t mean that as a criticism. The writing style is easy and relaxed and it’s as if Sass is talking to me throughout the book, rather than myself reading about Sass – if that makes sense. It must be a difficult writing style to keep up considering it’s written in the present tense (which I think is probably the most difficult tense to write in as you have to keep yourself from slipping back into the past tense) as well as being written in first-person. I applaud Gemma for going with that writing combo for her debut novel, she really pulled it off and made reading the book an utter pleasure.

The Dating Detox is just a fantastic read and I can’t wax lyrical about it enough. It’s humourous, it’s warm and it’s witty and I really recommend that you give this book a read. I could have read about Sass all day long, she was that enjoyable a character. Gemma has hit a winner here with her debut novel and I truly loved it. Not only is the plot unique but the characters are ones you really care about and only want the best for. A true must-read.
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12/10/2009 page 40
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