- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
25 stories from the hottest female writers on the scene
Too tired to doll up and head out for a night on the town? (It happens to the best of us.) Just dip into this year's must-read collection for a Girls' Night Out to remember and indulge in tales of reunions and weddings, sisters and friends, endings and beginnings . . . No waiting in line, no wardrobe malfunctions, no jockeying for position as you try to catch the bartender's eye. With a lineup of fantastic writers like Meg ...
25 stories from the hottest female writers on the scene
Too tired to doll up and head out for a night on the town? (It happens to the best of us.) Just dip into this year's must-read collection for a Girls' Night Out to remember and indulge in tales of reunions and weddings, sisters and friends, endings and beginnings . . . No waiting in line, no wardrobe malfunctions, no jockeying for position as you try to catch the bartender's eye. With a lineup of fantastic writers like Meg Cabot (The Boy Next Door), Emily Giffin (Something Borrowed), Kristin Gore (Sammy's Hill0, Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus (The Nanny Diaries), Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez (The Dirty Girls Social Club) and Lolly Winston (Good Grief), you'll be hanging with the VIPS all night long!
Net proceeds to benefit War Child and No Strings
Other fabulous writers featured: Jessica Adams, Cecelia Ahern, Maggie Alderson, Tilly Bagshawe, Elizabeth Buchan, Laura Caldwell, Lynda Curnyn, Kathleen DeMarco, Nicki Earls, Imogen Edwards-Jones, Robyn Harding, Lauren Henderson, Marian Keyes, Chris Manby, Carole Matthews, Anna Maxted, Lynn Messina, Sarah Mlynowski, Pamela Ribon.
Be careful what you wish for, they say. So when Siobhan came back from Australia with an Aboriginal dreaming bowl and invited us all to place a wish in it, I’m ashamed to say I asked for a fairy-tale romance. It wasn’t the kind of thing I would normally do but I was a bit wounded at the time. Even while I was folding up the note to put in the bowl, I hated Mark for turning me into the sort of person who made such pathetic wishes.
Naturally enough, I told everyone that I’d wished for peace in the Middle East. The only person I told the truth to was Siobhan--who confessed that she already knew, that after everyone had left she’d unfolded the notes and read them all. She was quick to reassure me that I wasn’t alone; the person who’d claimed he’d wished for his mother’s arthritis to improve had in fact wished for a silver SL320 Merc with many optional extras, including heated leather seats and a CD player.
"It’s just a bit of fun, "Siobhan said, but I was keen to have faith in the future, and hoped my wish would come true. In a way it did.
Would you believe it, less than a week later I met a man. Not just any man, but a fireman. The job alone was sexy, and he was gorgeous--arms the size of my thighs, huge barrel chest all the better to crush me against. The only thing was. . .he was shorter than I expected firemen to be--but never mind, I was off tall men.
And he was a kind and caring person; only a kind and caring person would put their life at risk entering burning buildings to rescue sleeping children and climbing up trees to bring home beloved cats.
We hit it off, he asked me out, Siobhan smiled proudly from the sidelines as if it was all her doing and suddenly I was in great form. I embarked on the round of shopping and ablutions that a first date calls for and Saturday night couldn’t come fast enough.
But on Saturday afternoon my phone rang. It was my hero and he was yawning so hard his jaw cracked. "I’m sorry, Kate, out on a job last night, just got back, need some sleep, on a shift again tomorrow."
Another huge big yawn.
What could I say? Huffiness simply wasn’t an option--no sniping about freshly done nails, new sandals, having turned down four other invitations and now what was I supposed to do, spend my Saturday night cleaning the bathroom? (Like I’d done every previous Saturday for the past month.) Instead I had to sympathize, even praise, and for the first time I saw the downside of having a boyfriend who saved lives for a living.
We rearranged for Thursday night and he promised he’d be wide awake and full of beans. I came to work on Thursday in my going-out clothes and Mark watched me click-clacking in my high sandals to the photocopier, but said nothing.
But that afternoon--minutes after I’d got back from spending my lunch hour getting my hair blow-dried--my fireman rang. He’d just returned home after a fifteen-hour stint dousing a huge conflagration in a rubber-goods warehouse.
"I’m sorry, Kate." A five-second yodelly yawn followed. "I really need some zeds, I’m so sleepy."
The disappointment was intense and as I thought of my good hair and my inappropriate clothes, I swallowed, braced myself--then went for it.
Brazenly, I said, "I could come over and keep you company."
He was shocked. To the core. He made interfering with a fireman’s sleep sound like a criminal offense and as I hung up I suspected I wouldn’t be hearing from him again.
But there was no time to be miserable because within days I’d met Charlie--at a party where he walked straight over to me, pointed a finger and said, "You, babe, are the woman I’m going to marry."
"What a fool," Siobhan murmured, and even while one part of my brain was agreeing with her, another part found his confidence strangely alluring.
"The name’s Charlie," he said. "Remember it because you’ll be screaming it later."
"I don’t think so," I replied, and he just laughed and said he wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Over the next two weeks he pursued me rapaciously and he seemed so sure he’d win me over that in the end he managed to convince me of it, too.
When I finally agreed to go out with him, he promised he’d show me the best night of my life and I must admit I was intrigued.
First he took me to a party, but he made us leave after fifteen minutes because he was bored, then he took me to a bar, which I’d read about but hadn’t been to, but we were barely there half an hour before he wanted to be off again. Two more parties and a club followed--he had the shortest attention span of anyone I’d ever met and in a way all that variety was exciting.
There were three or four more nights like that and at the time I thought of myself as glamorous, but now what I remember most is the number of times I had to gulp back the drink which had just arrived, while Charlie eyed the exit and tapped his foot impatiently.
So convincing was Charlie’s wide-boy swagger that it took me some time to notice that he was shorter than me. A lot shorter when I wore my boots. And when he couldn’t sit through a film--and we’re not talking Dances With Wolves or Heaven’s Gate here, only a normal ninety-minute one-- his attention deficit disorder began to annoy me.
Worse still, he always seemed to have a cold and his constant sniffing was driving me mad. Mad. As soon as one sniff was over, I was tensing my shoulders in irritation against the next one. Occasionally he sneezed and he baffled me by treating it like a major disaster.
Then I discovered the cause of the constant sniffing--and the short attention span--when I accidentally walked into his bathroom and found him crouched over the edge of the sink, a rolled-up fiver at his nostril.
It wasn’t the cocaine itself that shocked me. It was that he was taking it for a Saturday afternoon’s shopping. And that he’d been snorting it all this time and he’d never once offered me any. Marching orders were swiftly dispatched and not even him prostrating himself and swearing that we’d get a video and Chinese take-away and stay in for an entire evening made any difference.
The disappointment of Charlie set me back, and I was missing Mark a little too much for my liking, so to take my mind off things I decided to throw a party, which is where I met Owen.
The moment we made eye contact he began to blush and I’d never seen anything like it. It roared up his neck and face like red-hot lava, rushing to the farthest reaches of his head, then kind of "pinged" on the outer edges of his ears. For some reason I thought of an advertising slogan: Come home to a real fire.
Flustered, he turned around and bumped into a bottle of red wine with such violence it splashed Siobhan’s dress and my pale-gold curtains and the only reason I didn’t start shrieking like a termagant was because I felt attracted to him.
Owen was, quite simply, the shyest man I’d ever met, but after the cocaine-fueled arrogance of Charlie, I liked his self-effacing charm.
And though he was short, he was very good-looking--a neat, handsome little package.
He asked if he could take me for a drink sometime and when I said yes, he was so pleased that he knocked over and smashed my good flower vase into smithereens.
Our first date wasn’t much better. He came to pick me up, said, "You’ve lovely eyes. Even though they’re quite close together, "then swept the phone off the wall with such force that it never worked properly again.
I urged myself to give it time, that he would eventually relax with me. But each outing was as bad as the first time-- the blush that could be seen from outer space, the stammering compliment that managed to be an insult, then the ceremonial knocking over and breaking of something.
I had to end it with him before he’d destroyed all that I owned.
And into the breach stepped Shane, a friend of Siobhan’s youngest brother. He was too young for me but I didn’t care. He was cute-looking--another dinky one, actually, I was having quite a run of short men asking me out--and he was sweet.
He took me to Brittas Bay to fly kites, which might have been fun had he not told me that we were going to an art exhibit and had I not dressed accordingly. Shane claimed to have no memory, no memory at all of telling me about the exhibit. Then he raced off down the beach with his big yellow kite and I almost ended up flat on my back as I chased after him and my four-inch heels sank into the sand.
Eventually the kite-flying torment ended and we went to the pub and the real date began. But within minutes, Shane disclosed that he thought: a) Jack Nicholson and Jack Nicklaus were related; b) that flour was made from flowers; c) that the Mona Lisa’s real name was Muriel.
At the Muriel bit I sighed heavily; this was awful. And thick and all as he was, Shane said, "You’re not really into this, are you, Kate? Some guy wrecked your head, yeah? Siobhan said."
I sighed again; Siobhan was so indiscreet. But all of a sudden the idea of spilling the beans about Mark to this dim, sympathetic boy was enticing.
"It was great for ages and I don’t really know what happened but in the end he just rode roughshod over me."
"He rode who?" Shane was all indignation.
That was it! But Shane was mad keen to see me again. "We could go to this exhibition you keep talking about," he beamed.
Gently I turned him down. I couldn’t see him again. He was simply much, much, much too stupid.
Then I was depressed. I’d gone out with so many men and I was still thinking about Mark. I saw him at work but we never spoke. He’d been smiling a bit at me lately--probably because he thought enough time had elapsed for us to start behaving like civilized people again. Well, he could think again.
I squared my shoulders and told myself it would all be fine eventually. I thought the good times had finally arrived when I met a short, clever doctor who kept trying to get me into bed by tugging at my clothes and saying, "Let me through, I’m a doctor." It was funny the first time he said it, though not funny enough for me to sleep with him. Quite funny the second time, too. By the fifth time I was worried. Was this what counted as a sense of humour with him? Unfortunately it was and I stopped letting him through.
It was Siobhan who twigged what was happening.
"Hiho," she greeted me with. "How are you enjoying your fairy-tale romance?"
"Still waiting for it," I said glumly.
"What are you talking about? You’re slap-bang in the middle of it. You’re Snow White and you’re working your way through the Seven Dwarfs."
I told her she was off her rocker and that I wasn’t going to play, but she insisted. "They’ve all been very short, haven’t they? Haven’t they? And their personalities fit. The fireman who couldn’t get out of bed? Sleepy, obviously. Charlie the coke fiend is Sneezy, of course."
"There wasn’t much sneezing, mostly sniffing," I said, but Siobhan was undeterred.
"Poor shy Owen is an open-and-shut Bashful. Shane is Dopey--the funny thing is that’s what his friends call him anyway. And the doctor? Well, Doc, obviously."
"So which ones haven’t I done?’ It’s impossible to remember the names of all seven of them.
"Grumpy and Happy."
Mark asked if I’d meet him for a drink after work. With a heavy heart I agreed. It had been five months now, I supposed he was entitled to his stuff back.
But we’d barely sat down when he blurted out, "I’m sorry, Kate. I was such a grumpy bastard."
As soon as I heard the word grumpy my heart almost stopped in my chest. But Mark couldn’t be Grumpy! He was too tall!
"You were right not to put up with me. I’ve had plenty of time to think and, Kate, I feel small. I feel so very, very small."
"Small?" I repeated.
"Small. Tiny." He held up his thumb and first finger, barely leaving a gap. "This small." Then he told me he loved me, that he was miserable without me and asked if there was any chance that I’d take him back.
"I know I don’t deserve it." He hung his head. "But if you’d give me just one chance I’ll make it up to you and I’ll do everything I can to make you happy. If you come back to me, Kate, I’ll be happy. I’ll be so happy."
Copyright © 2006 Chris Manby, Carole Matthews and Sarah Mlynowski
Posted December 9, 2008
The twenty-five short stories that make up GIRLS¿ NIGHT OUT are for the most part entertaining chick lit tales. Most are amusing with a few outstanding especially since the plaintiff displays wit and intelligence while also emotionally moaning the woes of the universe. The author¿s are a who¿s who of the sub-genre with each writer bringing their A game. The stories run the gamut from the Internet dating to non-dating to old fashion dating. As always in the subgenre the females get their wishes granted, but the results are never what they anticipated. Though in many of the contributions the males seem underdeveloped, no one will care as the women (reflects real life) carry the story lines. This will be a fun time for readers as few sub-genres if any fit as well as chick lit does in the anthology format. Additionally besides obtaining a strong compilation, fans will know they benefit the charities War Child and From No Strings, two groups dedicated to help the children of war. --- Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 20, 2006
A host of authors have come together to produce another anthology benefitting Operation War Child. This alone makes the book worth purchasing. Beyond that, several of the entries are truly enjoyable. Dog Lover will definitely give you more than one chuckle, while Wishing Carefully or A Thing of Beauty will give you smiles of a more profound nature. There are some stories that just won't be for you, but the few gems and the good cause combined should make this one to think about.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 7, 2009
No text was provided for this review.