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My Legendary Girlfriend Hardcover – June 18, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway; 1 edition (June 18, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767909739
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767909730
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,342,014 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The young protagonist of Mr. Commitment struggles with an over-the-top case of romantic despair in Gayle's muddled second U.S. publication (actually his first novel). It recounts four days in the life of London schoolteacher Will Kelly, who is emerging from an extended stay in heartbreak hotel since his girlfriend, Aggi, dumped him three years earlier. The self-absorbed, self-deprecating English instructor doesn't lack for romantic prospects he landed on his feet with comely young Martina but Will's obsessive tendency to compare her to Aggi renders him indifferent to Martina's charms. The unlikely object of his affection turns out to be Kate, the former occupant of his flat, who finds herself in an intimate phone relationship with the rather unstable teacher when she calls looking for her mail. The thin plot consists of scenes in which Will alternately displays his tongue-in-cheek humor to his paramours and launches into a series of whiny rants and bouts of longing for Aggi. The beginning of the climax adds some vigor, when Will proposes to Kate over the phone, then discusses his romantic approach with a radio talk-show host, but the resolution involving both Kate and Will's musician friend Simon is a clunker. Gayle occasionally demonstrates some of the charm and humor that made Mr. Commitment a British bestseller, but the underplotting here shows through in a hurry, and Will's constant whining will try the patience of even the most avid Anglophiles.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-Having gotten dumped by his girlfriend on his 23rd birthday, Will Kelly has a severe case of post-breakup blues. He dwells in a land of what-ifs and tortures himself by reliving the fantastic moments of their relationship; but three years later, it seems as though Will is slowly starting to put his life back together. After much intermittent employment, he has moved to London and has a job. His paycheck doesn't relieve him from having to write to his student-banking adviser pleading for yet another overdraft extension, but at least he has a steady income. And he is seeing someone whose self-esteem is possibly lower than his. Still, in the course of four days, he reveals just how far he is from being over his "legendary girlfriend." It isn't often that one gets to read about a man's heartache over the end of a romance. The author of this charming tale brings readers to a sympathetic understanding of the protagonist, even when his behavior is at its most pathetic. Even rarer is the occasion to read a book that can make misery seem so funny. Readers feel Will's anguish but can't help laughing at it, perhaps seeing something of themselves in his behavior. After all, love can make one act in the craziest of ways. Teens will enjoy this novel and relate to Will's story.
Julie Dasso, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

He works a last resort job as a teacher.
D. A. Williams-Bethel
My Legendary Girlfriend is a very slow read that is rather disturbing at points and sometimes just really boring.
Brittan
This is one of very few books in life that I've read in one sitting.
quijibo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Robert Robey on April 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
A friend of mine in the UK sent me "My Legendary Girlfriend" as I'd expressed an interest in finding, for lack of a better term, some "Dude Lit" ... and this certainly fit the bill. Although it was something of a rough start (or perhaps I'm just an impatient reader), the book finally picked up about 2/3 of the way through, and was actually quite engaging by the end. If it had been that engaging all the way through it would have been an excellent book. As it was, I can only give it a rating of a "pretty good" book in clear conscience, but with the caveat that it was the writer's first novel.

The impression I got was that Gayle had a nice, solid ending, but didn't really have a beginning or middle to go with it, if you see what I mean. As for plot, there's almost zero -- a guy who's still heartbroken about being dumped spends the anniversary weekend of it three years later making a lot of phone calls, engaging in a lot of self-pity, acting like a massive slob around the house, and generally being pathetic, until he very suddenly grows a spine and goes through a series of rapid-fire relationship changes that conveniently turn into a happy ending for most of the cast. (Hope that doesn't spoil it for you!)

Basically, the first 2/3 of the book read like Gayle is stalling. There are a lot of anecdotes about the narrator's daily activities, his childhood, reminiscences about the girl who dumped him, a variety of other girls from his past, and his one male friend. There's a lot of bitching about his crummy apartment. And so on. There is foreshadowing and plot-building mixed in to all this, but a lot of it seems to just be put in to round it out from 20,000 words to 60,000 words so that you'll have an investment in the characters by the time you reach the end of the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
I find Mike Gayle's books (Wish you were here, Life of the party, His 'n Hers) engaging so of course I wanted to read My Legendary Girlfriend aswel. I was even offended to see the book in a Dutch bookstore (in Dutch) for a very low bargain price. As a wannabe writer I was hurt on Mr. Gayle's behalf. When I started reading I became worried how long it was going to take the main caracter Will Kelly, to get his act together. I could relate to his suffering because around the same age I had a similar heartache. So in that regard I got tight up in the story. But upon further reading I became annoyed. Time was moving soooo slow. When was he actually going to do something? At times I just lost interest in the book for some days and continued reading in other books. But I kept some interest in the story so I returned. Today I finished it. I have to say that I applaud Mr. Gayle's convincing way of discribing Will Kelly and his troubles. It has proved, based on the comments here, that it is very tricky to discribe four days in a book of 368 pages. Than it probably comes done to personal likes or dislikes. I think sixty pages less would have improved the book. Even better would have been a visit by an interesting caracter. That most likely would have put or kept some pace in the overall story. I see the comparison with Bridget Jones Diary. I myself was thinking about "Adrian Mole's Secret Diary" and "Growing pains of Adrian Mole."
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Steph B. on January 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
I fell head over heels in love with Mike Gayle's sophomore release MR. COMMITMENT, so when I stumbled across MY LEGENDARY GIRLFRIEND - which happens to be his first book, I had to read it! I was not disappointed!

As usual Gayle takes his time when telling a story. There are many parts of the book that will have you screaming "hurry up!", but his well thought out characters and plot is what makes this book a hit!

Will is the ill at ease, sarcastic protagonist in this delightful novel. It's been three years and he still hasn't gotten over the day his ex-girlfriend Aggi dumped him - on his 23rd birthday -- without rhyme or reason.

There hasn't been a woman since who has come and knocked ol' Aggi down from that tremendously high pedestal Will has put her on. He obsesses over her day and night, and beats himself up trying to figure out what he could've done differently. He just cannot get her out of his system. That is until he gets a phone call from the girl who lived in his flat prior to him moving in. Could this stranger be the one who helps Will come to grips on the true meaning of love?

In just one weekend, he learns what usually takes a lifetime for some. Maybe there is someone out there that can measure up to his "legendary girlfriend".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James N Simpson on April 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
I came across a short story from the 2011 Quick Reads series by Gayle called Men at Work. It was brilliant and if anything would have been even better if it was a full length novel. However upon deciding to check out Gayle's novels by starting with his first one, I have to say the opposite is true with Legendary Girlfriend, it wasn't brilliant and definitely would have been better if a lot of pointless boring text was edited away and it had in fact been a short story.

Don't get me wrong, there's occasional flashes of brilliance in here, such as when the postman doesn't leave his birthday present, but it's just so few and far between and is surrounded by too much pointless and boring waffling on by the main character Will Kelly. If I hadn't liked Men at Work so much, I wouldn't have stuck with this past the first few chapters, let alone all the way to the end. My Legendary Girlfriend also suffers from the fact that Will isn't that likeable a character, due to his severe slobiness, and just pure patheticness in not moving on for three years after being dumped by his then girlfriend Aggi. All this guy does is sit around and mope about her and the fact that he is a now a teacher, a job he doesn't like. Seriously you can understand why Aggi didn't want to be in a relationship with this loser. The novel is also fairly predictable, you'll work out who Will's legendary girlfriend should be early on.

The basic plot of this, is pretty much outlined in the above paragraph other than one day Will gets a phone call from the former tenant since a cheque was posted there by mistake and she really needs the money. Maybe she can bring Will out of his pathetic life?
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