Don’t Want to Miss a Thing
I’m a big fan of Jill Mansell’s chick lit-contemporary romances, and was so eager to read Don’t Want to Miss a Thing that I read it in print while waiting for the audio version to arrive for review. I enjoyed the print version and expected to love the audio version as well, but was disappointed. While the narration isn’t awful, it was problematic at times. And then there’s the baby issue.
I wasn’t sure I’d like the hero. Dexter Yates, a successful London businessman, is very much a player. He goes from one woman’s bed to another, avoiding any long-term relationships with the exception of his older sister Laura. But when Laura has a daughter, Dexter falls in love with her baby, Delphi. Eight months later, when Laura dies (and this isn’t a spoiler, it’s everywhere in the book descriptions), Dex makes the hard decision to raise Delphi and changes incredibly as the months go by. Always charming, Dex becomes a true, responsible adult. In fact, he moves from his London home to the second home he purchased – originally for the occasional weekend – in a small Cotswold village.
Molly Hayes, a comic-strip artist, owns the home next to Dex’s in the Cotswolds. Molly recognized Dex for what he was in his pre-Delphi days. Once Dex and Delphi move to the village, Dex and Molly gradually become closer, but theirs is a very slow romance. They are friends first with each becoming involved with other people before finally getting together.
My primary problems are not with the story – I like it – but with the narration. Ms. Larkin’s pacing is fine, and she successfully conveys the emotions the characters are feeling. But in many sections, I had difficulty discerning who was speaking. Ms. Larkin makes all of the characters – with the exception of Delphi – sound very similar. And at times, in conversations, with an absence of dialog tags and lack of vocal differentiation, I was confused as to which character was speaking. I think this would have been even more problematic if I hadn’t read the book in print before listening in audio.
While Molly and Dex are the main characters, we also gradually learn the stories and problems of many other village residents. If you want your romances to focus just on the hero and heroine, Don’t Want to Miss a Thing will not be the book for you. While I enjoyed the other stories, the book would have been more enjoyable for me with a few less stories and more emphasis on Dex and Molly.
But then there’s the big problem: Delphi. Don’t like children, and especially babies, in your romances? Then avoid this book at all costs, most especially the audio version. Delphi is a major character in the book. She gurgles, she cries, she gives raspberries. She makes every noise known to babies, and it’s in these baby voices that Ms. Larkin really comes to life. Yes, Delphi sounds like a baby, an often loud baby. I pretty much skimmed over these baby noises when reading in print; they are unavoidable in audio.
Overall, while I can recommend the story (with the warning about excessive baby interactions), I encourage you to read it in print, rather than audio.
Breakdown of Grade – Narration: C and Book Content: B+
Unabridged. Length – 12 hours 7 minutes