Book Review: Losing the Plot

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Author: Elizabeth Coleman
ISBN: 9781760633431
RRP: $29.99
Publication Date: April 2019
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

The front cover of this book states: “A sweet and funny story about serious stuff”, Sigrid Thornton is quoted as saying “Such a fun read” and Rebecca Gibney quoted as saying “I loved it”. When a book has these sort of quotes on it’s front cover it’s a great drawcard to encourage you to read the book, but always leaves me concerned that I’m going to be disappointed, like when you go to see a movie based on a trailer, and discover that the scene shown was the only good bit in the film!

In this instance I agree with Sigrid Thornton that Losing the Plot is a fun read, although I’m not sure that it can really be described as “A sweet and funny story …” This is Elizabeth Coleman’s first novel, although she has four published plays, as a screenwriter adapted Secret Bridesmaid’s Business into an award-winning ABC telemovie, as well as having written for many of Australia’s popular tv drama series including Sea Change and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.

Losing the Plot is the story of Vanessa Rooney, a thirty something dental hygienist with two sons, Jackson and Lachie, whose husband Craig has left her for their marriage counsellor, Natalie. In order to make ends meet, Vanessa’s mother Joy has moved into the family home.

Joy isn’t exactly your average (normal?) sixty-three year old mum and grandma, as she channels her inner and outer sexpot in an ongoing endeavour to find THE man who will replace her beloved husband Jack who died when Vanessa was young.

Vanessa meanwhile is a great fan of Charlotte Lancaster, celebrity author of romance novels, and her inspiration to fulfil her childhood dream of writing her own romance book. With trepidation and excitement in her heart she submits the finished work to Lancaster’s publishing company Wax, only to receive a rejection letter weeks later.

Imagine her shock therefore when a short while later she is attending an author talk and new book release by her idol, only to discover that Lancaster’s new work is her own novel with slight adjustments!

Enter Dave Rendall, suburban solicitor, father of Nickie, coach of the local soccer team the Redbacks who encourages Vanessa to sue Charlotte and manages to bring on board the stunningly gorgeous (and recently single) QC Marcus Stafford.

The loss of the laptop on which Vanessa’s work is stored, insistence by the publishing company Wax that they never received Vanessa’s work, or entered into any email communication with her etc. etc., coupled with what appears to be every effort by Dave’s secretary Ms Izetbegovic to stymie the case leaves Vanessa wondering why she is proceeding.

None of which is helped by her is she or isn’t she in a relationship with the very gorgeous QC Marcus, a man that Joy thinks is perfect for her, and both her boys, and Dave consider to be a tosspot, while her Kiwi friend Kiri refers to him as a dickhid.

As her world explodes publicly and privately Vanessa is forced to confront who she is and what she really wants out of life, and face that what she wanted isn’t actually what she needed.

I loved Coleman’s characters, although will admit to wanting to give Vanessa a slap more than once, Ms Izetbegovic can only be described as something else, Dave the down trodden, can’t quite look after himself lovable solicitor, soccer coach and dad, Kiri whose Kiwi accent comes through admirably due to the way Coleman has written her words, Jackson, Lachie and Nickie, normal kids dealing with growing up, hormones and “parents”, Joy desperately trying to recreate her relationship with her perfect man, Marcus Stafford and Charlotte Lancaster with more baggage than an airport carousel and all the other minor characters with their own quirks.

Losing the plot is published by Allen and Unwin. Many thanks to Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read and review. I give it 4 stars.

This guest review was submitted by our Beauty and Lace Club member: Marcia. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us Marcia.

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