Being Committed

( 7 )


A hopeless unromantic gets a
crash course in love in the fourth
hilarious novel from bestselling
author Anna Maxted

After her disaster of a marriage ends when she is just twenty, Hannah is convinced you have to be out of your mind (or desperate) to tie the knot. And life without a husband at thirty-one is just fine, thank you very much. She has a steady job working as a ...

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A hopeless unromantic gets a
crash course in love in the fourth
hilarious novel from bestselling
author Anna Maxted

After her disaster of a marriage ends when she is just twenty, Hannah is convinced you have to be out of your mind (or desperate) to tie the knot. And life without a husband at thirty-one is just fine, thank you very much. She has a steady job working as a private investigator (albeit a mediocre one); a devoted boyfriend of five years, Jason; and a wonderful relationship with her dad (it's a shame her mother is such a lost cause). Then, on a romantic weekend retreat to a faux-ancient castle, Jason proposes marriage, leaving Hannah with no choice but the obvious: to turn him down cold.

Much to her horror, four weeks later, Jason becomes engaged to his next-door neighbor, a fine baker and "proficient seamstress." Has Hannah blown her last chance at a solid relationship as her family claims? Jason agrees to give her another chance -- but only if she meets his terms, among them a promise to dust off the many skeletons in her closet.

Brimming with her characteristic blend of humor and heartache, Anna Maxted's Being Committed is a perceptive look at intimacy (and its substitutes), commitment phobia, and the power others have over us.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sometimes it isn't snaring a man that's the problem but keeping him. In this deliciously snarky fourth novel, bestselling Maxted (Getting Over It; Running in Heels; etc.) introduces readers to Hannah Lovekin, a 30-year-old London private investigator with commitment issues and a breezy lack of sensitivity and feminine graces. At the start of the novel, Jason, Hannah's adorable boyfriend of five years-he's "enthusiastic, without cynicism, like a new puppy," the polar opposite of Hannah-pops the question and Hannah turns him down, only to realize that she wants him after all. Jason agrees to give Hannah another chance if she promises to resolve her intimacy issues, visit a therapist and make amends with Jack, her ex-husband, who's now a successful theater agent. Reluctantly embarking on the path to enlightenment ("I've been married before. When I was twenty. For five months. I'm a raddled old divorcee consumed with bitterness and regret. Is that relevant?"), Hannah is forced to realize why her marriage with Jack crumbled, as well as face the family secrets she shelved away as a little girl. Maxted tosses barbs like a champion darts player, and she paints a scathingly hilarious picture of her misguided but appealingly frank heroine. Witty, sarcastic, self-deprecating and clever, this is platinum-class chick lit. Agent, Deborah Schneider at Gelfman Schneider . (Aug.) Forecast: Maxted doesn't need an early summer release date to get books moving-expect this to hit bestseller lists as well as beach towels. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
When 31-year-old Hannah turns down her longtime boyfriend Jason's marriage proposal, she is stunned by his dismay after all, he's the one "who'd blown [their] future by asking such a stupid question." Readers of chick lit may find it difficult to warm to Maxted's (Running in Heels) heroine, who might charitably be called difficult, but one must admit that she has a point when, accused by her would-be fianc of having no empathy, she asks why, then, he would want to marry her. One month later, Jason is engaged to Lucy, and Hannah wants him back. He has conditions the most important being that Hannah come to terms with her ex-husband, Jack. Jason blames the failure of this brief, youthful marriage on Hannah's inability to commit. As soon as we meet Jack, we know that Jason is wrong; the rude and abrasive Jack is perfect for Hannah, and the story really starts moving along when he is introduced. Readers of the genre will enjoy this entertaining, if predictable, novel by one of the more sophisticated chick-lit authors. Recommended for popular fiction collections. Elizabeth Mellett, Brookline P.L., MA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
"[A] quirky, romantic comedy."
US Weekly
"[A] lively, romantic romp."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780099481676
  • Publisher: Random House Adult Trade Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/28/2005
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 4.30 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Anna Maxted is a freelance writer and the author of the smash international bestsellers Getting Over It, Running in Heels, and Behaving Like Adults. She lives in London with her husband, author Phil Robinson, and their son.

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First Chapter

Being Committed
A Novel

Chapter One

Every woman likes to be proposed to, even if she means to refuse. At least, until I'd racked up a couple of marriage offers myself, that's what I believed. Aged fifteen, I read of one thirty-something who'd totted up five and was happy to boast of it in a national newspaper. Then, I considered her lucky, glamorous, popular with boys. Everything that I, as a teenager, wasn't. (My adolescence can be summarized by one incident in which I took a gobstopper out of my mouth on a train. A man leaned forward in his seat and said, "Oh! I thought you were deformed.")

Years later, I realized that the proposal collector and I were a lot alike. You have to be quite a twit to allow matters to escalate to the point where some guy assumes you'll agree to rely on him for your life's entertainment when you have no intention of doing any such thing. (No man pops the question unless he is convinced of a yes. Which says not very much for the perception and self-regard of quite a few men.)

I'm being harsh. If it happens once, it's understandable. There are certain men who need to get married, for whom the woman is almost incidental to proceedings. The wife is the tedious yet necessary ingredient, similar to yeast in bread. This sort of man fixes on his target rather like a pit bull, and any girl who can't run fast enough is at risk. Then it's not her fault.

That said, sometimes it is. A persistence in finding you perfect can transform even a man of moderate charms into an accidental fiancé. I know that women, as a gender, are renowned for hankering after men one politely describes as "a challenge." But I'll bet that even those men have at one point (perhaps by having sex with us) given the impression of finding us attractive. I think it's instinct to gravitate toward those who find us delightful.

Disagree, but you'll disagree until the day you meet a person who dislikes you on sight and doesn't bother to hide it. Then you'll realize there's little more repellent. You won't be able to get away quick enough.

So, putting you at the right end of the desirability scale as it does, it's no wonder that a marriage offer is glorious in fantasy. A man, not noticeably defective, falling at your feet with a shower of gifts: flowers, jewels, big dinners, himself. A vitamin shot to the ego. The fact that out of all the millions of women he has met in his life, you are the one he finds most bewitching. (Or who he thinks will have him.)

Alas. The reality of an unwanted proposal is spitefully different from the dream format -- I discovered this the embarrassing way. And, as I believe that it cheers the spirit to hear of another person's romantic woes now and then, I feel it's only my duty to share. Patience, however. As I said, I have had two marriage offers -- wait! Three, now that I think about it -- one of which was successful. I'm going to detail one here and, to reassert my dignity -- presently making for the hills -- I've decided not to tell you which it is just yet.

I hope you're sitting comfortably. Even if you don't deserve to.

Jason drove. And not just because our weekend away in St. Ives was to celebrate my birthday. He always drove. As I was unbothered about who drove and of the implications were Jason ever to be seen in public being driven by a woman, I let him drive. Indeed, whenever we traveled together, I'd head for his car, no question. I'm all for granting favors at no cost to myself. Driving is an activity that men engage in to boost their self-esteem, which I can relate to but not in a Fiat. Anyway, as we both discovered awhile back when I directed him to Swindon out of spite (we were supposed to be going to Oxford), the navigator holds the real power.

Perhaps I'm not giving the greatest impression of myself. My sister-in-law Gabrielle says this is inevitable as I grew up in Hampstead Garden Suburb. She means that a typical native of "the Suburb" -- a seemingly quaint residential area of London, characterized by big beautiful houses, trim heathland, and fierce conservation orders—is a rude rich person who drives a large car badly (when your nose is that high in the air, it's hard to see the road) and serially mistreats au pairs, cleaners, waiters, and anyone apparently poor -- that is, who takes home less than £1 million a year.

I've reminded Gabrielle that I drive a Vauxhall and am comfortably unsuccessful, but her reply is "Yes, darling, but for some reason you're still rude."

If that's true, I apologize, and offer the weaselly excuse that I'm only being defensive. Gabrielle has a point. The Suburb, though picturesque and exclusive, is a bitchy village with a high concentration of unhappy families who resent their neighbors. Even though a friend of mine who's plod -- pardon, a police officer -- says they have zero to sneer about because half of them are bent. Still, if you don't conform -- say, you smile at a gardener or divorce (or worse, divorce, then smile at a gardener) -- you are shunned like the traitor you are. It's an environment that stunts your natural affability, if you had any to begin with.

My job doesn't help. I'm a private investigator, but not a very good one. You can imagine how that went down with Next Door. If I'm not in the mood to offend (rare), I tell people I'm in public relations. Which isn't a lie. Occasionally -- when I don't botch things -- I do help the public with their relations.

Pretty much the rest of my time is spent tracing people, which I hope sounds glamorous ...

Being Committed
A Novel
. Copyright © by Anna Maxted. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 13 of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Light-hearted Romantic Comedy

    Anna Maxted writes stories that woman can relate to. 'Being committed' is a clever look into a womans strong beliefs on marriage and why it doesnt work out. Hannah is a witty and sarcastic character that you will either love or hate. Family sorror, love & marriage, and relationship drama devour this book. It is a must read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2006


    This story centers around Hannah Lovekin and her relationships with friends, family and lovers. There is never a dull moment. Enjoyable reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2006

    Raddled Divorcee Embarks On A Second Chance At Love

    This deliciously naughty novel stars a neurotic and imbalanced Hannah Lovekin, who, after turning down boyfriend of five years Jason¿s proposal, suddenly finds herself desperate for him when he gets engaged to his next door neighbour .A willing Jason says that he will part ways with his new fiancee¿ Lucy, whose breath made a dead rat¿s underarms smell like a meadow, but there are conditions : 1) Hannah has to embrace her femininity and (2) Hannah will have to face her past and make amends with her ex husband, Jack, who she divorced when she was just twenty. Hannah starts dressing in flowery skirts, her cheeks flushed with pink blusher, her lips enhanced with the prettiest shade and of course, what¿s a true woman if she can¿t handle a kitchen? Cooking lessons with mommy dearest, waxes, facials, tanning ¿ she did it all with a grimace- nevertheless she did it. But to come face to face with a furious Jack who obviously has not forgiven her for their failed marriage? Well, that was something else entirely. However, her journey into her past leads her to many discoveries and revelations, altering her family¿s foundation and inevitably propels her to question her own issues and reasons as to why she has allowed herself to become the person she is. Told in Hannah¿s engaging voice, every page tosses witty barbs and exquisitely funny descriptions ¿When sunshine occurs in the UK, I don¿t actually believe it, (It is the meteorological equivalent of chips not being fattening if consumed standing up.)¿ that is sure to instigate laugh out loud episodes. As we turn the pages, we find ourselves utterly shocked by some of Hannah¿s dark secrets that the author cleverly discloses when we least expect it. `My mother is like a wallflower and just nods at everything we say¿.but oh yes, my father has never forgiven my mother for having an affair.¿¿ Maxted successfully paints an amusing, sharp and frank heroine that sends readers for their old tattered pom poms and go Give Me A H! Give me an A! Give me an N! as the rattled young divorcee finds a second chance at love. A truly entertaining first class chick lit. Can definitely go platinum.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2005

    Commit to reading this book

    Great Read. I caught myself laughing out loud. I finished it in two days, just could not put it down. The characters were people I could easily relate to, and the situations were not too far fetched. I highly reccomend this book.

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