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A Certain Chemistry

3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  935 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
When cash-strapped Tom Cartwright is offered the highly lucrative task of ghosting the autobiography of a glamorous young soap star, he and his girlfriend are thrilled. But Tom soon finds himself drawn to his client by forces outside his control.
Paperback, 372 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by Phoenix (first published January 1st 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Feb 04, 2011 M rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Resorted to skimming in many parts. I was curious to find out what happened, and satisfied by the conclusion (glad it wasn't too unbelieveable/romantic-comedy-ish), but the main character irritated me, and I found the narrative interruptions by "God" to be pointless and unfunny (though I feel like the author thought he was being oh so witty).
Sarah Rodriguez
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 01, 2016 Andrew rated it really liked it
I believe it was the wise philosopher Haddaway who once asked, 'What is love?' (before pleading with people not to hurt him any more). "A Certain Chemistry" is Mill Millington's attempt to answer that question in his own dry way.

Being a lowly ghostwriter, Tom seems to have yielded to a life of mediocrity, going nowhere in his career. But at least he has his girlfriend, Sara (awww).

Then he lands the contract of his life as his alcoholic (yay!) agent lands him the job of ghosting the autobiography
Jul 08, 2009 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

I must have laughed loud and long a couple of dozen times or more while reading the first 100 pages of this 404-page book; and I must have laughed about three times all told, and then only in a charitable way, during the rest of it.

Tom Cartwright's a ghostwriter in Edinburgh, Scotland; he's a deft and willing hack and he lives with a girlfriend called Sara with whom I promptly fell in, and remained in, love. But, however skilled Tom is with the written word, he's an idiot. When the chance comes
A Certain Chemistry
Mil Millington
404 pages

Brooding, self-loathing Tom Cartwright is a modestly successful ghostwriter whose ability to spell correctly and meet his deadlines has landed him the job of writing the autobiography of the wildly popular soap-opera star Georgina Nye. His imbibing, chain-smoking agent is swooning, and his offbeat, sweetly supportive live-in girlfriend of five years, Sara, is ecstatic--new carpets!

Yet even as he feverishly pens (read: mostly makes up) Georgina's "
Jamie L
Sep 07, 2009 Jamie L rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When I get to a place where I'm not up for the books in my queue, I'll check out my fave authors' sites and see what they're reading.
Christopher Moore has been reading some Mil Millington (Pete Peterson, John Johnson...some people's parents). He wrote that he laughed all the way through. I, however, do not find this guy as funny as Chris Moore does OR as Chris Moore is. I do, however, find it weird that as much as I love his writing, I've sort of struck out re: reading books he's liked. Hmmm...

Dec 30, 2008 Gregg rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining, although not as witty as I would have preferred. A ghostwriter with a live-in-girlfriend gets hired to write a famous soap star's autobiography. He puts it together, and then winds up having an affair with her, hoping all the while he can get away with it and keep his girlfriend happy (whom he still loves). The book was the very definition of there-but-for-the-grace-of-God for me--scenes where he's desperately trying to keep his lies straight, keep a poker face in front of his girl ...more
Aug 26, 2007 Styleygeek rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was really disappointed by this book so far. I am a huge fan of Mil Millington's website (Things my dirlfriend and I have argued about) and his newsletters are hilarious. So I was expecting big things from this novel.

Instead, I have found it tedious. I forced myself to read the first 10 pages or so, hoping it would get better, but it hasn't yet. The writing is clicheed and the jokes try too hard. The characters are boring. I really really hope it improves.
Nov 11, 2011 Hawkgrrrl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pretty enjoyable read, even if the ending is somewhat inevitable. The God as narrator actually worked for me since I too picture God as a regular guy who is as interested in how things work as the rest of us are. I can't say the protagonist is truly likeable, but that's part of the appeal of this slightly weird novel.
Jan 23, 2009 Seán rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, drollery
Millington is that oddly contemporary thing: the author who's pretty much at his best writing for websites and email newsletters. Nevertheless, this novel is a pretty well done take on chick lit from a douchey boyfriend's perspective.
This is a hard one to rate. He's still a funny writer, but, let's face it, it's about an affair. I just don't do well wtih books about that in the least, especially when they try to justify it, etc. Maybe it will get better at the end, but i liked the first a lot better.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The main review of this book says Tom is "brooding". That's the last word I'd use to describe him. Self-centred, yes - but perhaps if he'd brooded a bit more, he wouldn't have got into such a mess. However, back to MY review.

I loved this book immediately because of the writer's voice. He has a humorous way of describing things in ordinary life that strike a chord, like his description of a "shop of bollocks" (a New Age store), how he reacts to people handing out leaflets on the street, and the a
Ian Mapp
Dec 19, 2012 Ian Mapp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
He's done it again, has Mr Millington.

The second, often difficult book, may even be better than the first.

Tom is a ghost writer, hiding behind other people rather than writing his own books, for which he has the talent but fears failure.

He is living with sarah - works in a super market.

He takes on the job of writing the biography of Georgina Nye - top soap star - and the two fall for each other.

Tom feels no remorse and does what any man would do. There are even chapter breaks where god explains
Jaclyn Day
Dec 21, 2012 Jaclyn Day rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m hesitant to classify this book as chick lit because there are few things I hate more than the phrase “chick lit,” but in this case it was the first thing that sprang to mind when I was trying to describe it. Funnily enough, the book’s central character is male, so that probably places it firmly outside the standard definition of chick lit. But as far as the content is concerned, it makes light of cringeworthy interpersonal situations, includes romance or the lack thereof and has a television ...more
Jul 01, 2010 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didnt-finish
Oh, I so wanted to like this. I remember discovering Mil's "Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About" website back in the early days of the Internet*, and thinking I'd stumbled on some crazy secret. I laughed. It was funny.

However, just like 99% of the blog-to-book conversions out there, Millington's humor--best in small doses--doesn't really translate into a book-length work, it turns out. Bummer. Most of this book takes place inside Mil--er, Tom's--brain, with him neurotically thinking ev
Mil writes another great book! It was actually pretty hard to read in the sense that you're going on a journey with this guy who's CHEATING on his GIRLFRIEND. I hated the main character for most of the book because he's such an unrepentant idiot. (well, not through the entire thing, but it takes him a good 250 pages before he wakes up to it.) But still. It was really good, I have to admit. Mil does a good job of presenting a situation in which someone can end up doing something horrible and the ...more
Apr 21, 2008 Heather rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anti-romantics
My own boyfriend recommended this book to ME, of all people. Apparently he forgot the premise and he just remembered it as being funny. This book was a nightmare for me. Yes, there was humor and the story did make me laugh out loud a few times. All of that aside, romantics, dreamers, and optimists need not bother with this unless you'd like to have generally all of your idealistic visions destroyed. This book left me annoyed with how stupid and selfish men can be sometimes. And I did not know wh ...more
Astrid Natasastra
Mar 04, 2008 Astrid Natasastra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's something charming with a novel written by male writer that tells story about his girlfriend.. And this one is actually a sequel of 'Things me and my girlfriend argue about' (it's funnier and more complicated than in sounds)where Mil is being Mil, and have an infatuation with a female movie star who is young, bright and of course, beautiful. They seemed to click etc.. but he's already in a relationship ( a long one too).. I won't spoil much further.. but it's definitely a good read for g ...more
Aug 31, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Normally, I would find this lad-ish portrayal of a young ghostwriter's quest for sex and alcohol rather tedious. But this is written by Mil Millington, one of the funniest writers of all time. I actually fell off my chair and onto the floor laughing the first time I was exposed to his prose style. Tom, an Englishman in Edinburgh, gets the job of ghost writing an autobiography for soap star Georgina Nye, his girlfriend Sara's favorite. Naturally, he winds up convinced that his great love for both ...more
Aug 04, 2011 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: white-dudes
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joe Miller
May 05, 2011 Joe Miller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not quite up to the level of Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About. But let's be fair: Millington's first novel set the bar pretty high. Millington's sophomore novel is a solid follow-up. It's really quite funny in spots, though there's a fair amount of The Office-style of painfully awkward funny. If you like that sort of thing, this is definitely worth a read. I do enjoy some level of laugh-at-other-people's-discomfort (who doesn't?) but there were a few spots when I quite literally had ...more
Stephen Dorneman
The first person main character of Millington's second novel, much like his first (THINGS MY GIRLFRIEND AND I HAVE ARGUED ABOUT), almost makes you like him with a constant stream of self-deprecating humor and occasional flashes of insight but at his core, he's a weak, selfish philanderer that you really don't want to hang around with for 400 pages. The laughs alone (although there were quite a few) weren't enough, and the framing device (an ongoing conversation with God about how humans are buil ...more
Apr 04, 2013 Jason rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This books was good at times, but the subject matter was just not my style. I had a hard time relating to a guy who got a great job, had a great girlfriend, and he risked it all by sleeping with his book subject. I thought there were moments of funny writing, but mostly it was writing to cover up the main characters indiscretions and that just wasn't enough to bring this book up. Skip it if given the chance is my advice.
May 19, 2008 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: own
Another great one by Mil Millington. This one wasn't quite as funny (I didn't laugh out loud as much) and I'm not a huge fan of stories about infidelity, hence the four stars instead of five.

Unlike "Things," though, this story moved quickly. You saw when and where it was going pretty quickly, and it was fun to see how it would get there.

The God-as-interlocutor idea was also really interesting. Unnecessary, but I think it added a little something special.

All in all a great book.
Sep 16, 2012 Erin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun read. I enjoyed the book, though as it went on I wanted to smack Tom in the head for his rationalisation. I could have done without the "God" chapters in between and, frankly, as the book went on, I tended to skim those, preferring the actual story. This book was recommended in the interview section in the back of "Love Monkey" by Kyle Smith so I thought I'd read it.
Aug 19, 2008 Nagesh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Second novel of Millington that I read. I'm a sucker for Brit humour and this chap is talented in that aspect.

I did read his first book The-Things-My-Girlfriend-&-I-have-argued-about and found it interesting in a refreshing way hence bought this.

Has very good share of good one liners and nice hilarious narrative scenarios.

Overall the book is ok.
I do like Mil Millington, but I preferred "Things my girlfriend and I have argued about." This book would be called "chicklit" if it had been written by a woman because it's about a man living happily with one woman, but becoming attracted to another. I certainly enjoyed it, and it's a quick and amusing read.
Jan 18, 2012 Nathan rated it liked it
Small-time author meets soap star and has affair. Oh, and God is in it. The protagonist is a complete tosser, but there are still the usual funny moments and pratfalls demanded by the genre. Deliberately ambiguous ending. Somewhat unsatisfying, though. Rated M for frequent coarse language, sex scenes, low level violence and adult themes. 3/5
Sep 27, 2009 Jmswtsn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much much better than his first novel ("Things my girlfriend and I have argued about"), an engaging and funny read, but with realistic(ish) plot points. Seems to be an honest portrayal of the male mind's internal reasoning, and how that doesn't usually line up quite correctly in the real world, especially with the female mind.
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Mil Millington is a British author of humorous books. He first came to public prominence as a writer when he created a web-site entitled "Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About. The site's main content was (and remains) anecdotes describing arguments and misunderstandings between Mil and his German girlfriend Margret, mother of his two sons. The site was hosted on Wolverhampton University's ...more
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