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Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About: A Novel Paperback – January 14, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Villard; 1 edition (January 14, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081296666X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812966664
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #251,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Millington's debut novel is an outgrowth of his Web site of the same name, on which he has been posting, for the last year, comic vignettes about life with his German girlfriend. Predictably, it consists mostly of comic bickering between first-person narrator Pel Dalton and his own German girlfriend, the insouciant Ursula Kretenjeger. The couple lives in a ramshackle, dirt-cheap house in "an area of the northeast of England so dire that the government was applying for a grant from the European Union for it to be placed under martial law" with their two young sons. Pel is something of a slacker ("for me, half-heartedness is a full-quarter too hearted"), the bumbling head of an IT team at the local university library. After their house is broken into, the marginally more conventional Ursula insists they look for something in a better neighborhood. House hunting, like most of the other plot turns in the book-which include Pel taking over for his mysteriously vanished boss and becoming the courier for a Chinese gang-is mostly an opportunity for lots of funny sparring on every subject from whose turn it is to defrost the refrigerator to whether "cock" or "dick" is the better euphemism for penis. Overall, the comic material is uneven; some of it is overwritten and a bit obvious, but at its best, Pel's narration is side-splitting. There are no shattering insights about men and women, but the book never pretends to be more than it is: an entertaining and genuinely funny romp through the trials of coupledom.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The battle of the sexes continues unabated in British author Millington's quirkily comic debut novel. Pel and his German girlfriend, Ursula, have two children and any number of differences between them. He watches a lot of television and so can be depended on to know when Britain declares war on, say, Finland. Ursula is more outgoing and talks to the neighbors a lot, so she knows, for instance, what neighbor is harboring nuclear weapons in the garage. Pel works in the computer section of a library or, more properly, a Learning Centre, which is attached to a shiny new university whose students are recruited by a Japanese crime syndicate. What's more, the new computer lab is being built over the remains of an antediluvian graveyard, which raises the interesting issue of what to do with the bodies. Speaking of which, after a top administrator disappeared a number of years ago (and nobody noticed), her salary has funded many such valuable projects. Students of academic satire such as James Hynes's Lecturer's Tale will find much that might be familiar and funny here. The inevitable comparisons with Nick Hornby shouldn't detract from Millington's unique, laugh-out-loud take on sexual and academic shenanigans. For all large public libraries.
Bob Lunn, Kansas City P.L., MO
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

This book is laugh out loud funny!
KimbatheWhiteLion
The plot was so boring I lost interest about a quarter into the book, and at that point the story had hardly even begun.
LobsterKitten
Buy this book, make someone you love shake their head in disgust.
Jay W Ward

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Ivan Alvarado on January 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a must-have for those who are fans of millington's website "Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About" (http:/[...]). Indeed, it is not a copy of what is there on his webpage.
A word of caution for those who are unfamiliar with the author. I think it would be better to read millington's 'Things' website before reading this book in order to get familiar with Margret(Ursula) and Mil (Pel). This will really help the reader to appreciate the situations portrayed in the book and to understand the characters' behavior.
I don't think it is necessary to say that the book is extremely funny and very original. I should say, however, that millington is a clever and witty writer. I disagree with the reviewer who didn't like the end of the book. I think the end is very appropriate and, indeed, very satisfying.
If you are unsure about buying this book, check out his webpage first and see whether you like the style and humor.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By David Killick on September 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
Anyone who has read Mil Millington's web page or column in the UK Guardian will know that he is a brilliant writer of rare talent and wit. His tales of 13 years of quarelling with his (dearly-beloved) partner Margaret are among the funniest and most original works on the internet. This book is long overdue.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By LobsterKitten on March 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
Being somewhat familiar with Mil Millington's website and also being a huge fan of other funny and uniquely sweet novels by British authors, I picked up this book really excited to read it. Unfortunately, I was highly disappointed. Sure, it's funny. There's no denying that much. Millington certainly has experience with entertainingly dysfunctional relationships, and he has perfected the art of humorously cynical commentary. These strengths are perfect for his website, but you can't write a novel consisting of nothing but random digressive stories and witty sarcasm. The plot was so boring I lost interest about a quarter into the book, and at that point the story had hardly even begun. In addition to being unsatisfied with the plot, I felt that Ursula's character was poorly written. On Millington's website he portrays his girlfriend as quirkily crazy, but in the book she comes across as downright mean. We only ever got to see the obnoxious, opinionated, irritating side of her, and it left me wondering why on earth Mil's character, Pel, ever liked his girlfriend in the first place! Then there was the ending. The final chapter started out fine enough, but then the last couple pages were kind of like, "Well, enough of this, I think it's over now . . ." I was just very disappointed with this book. The humor did not make up for lack of anything profound or thought-provoking. (Actually, for those of you who have read the book, there was that one part where Tracey said something about how beauty should be considered an accomplishment even though you're just born with it. She made some good points that I'd never thought about before. It was only like two lines long and really had nothing to do with the book, but I thought it was interesting. It was probably the most thought-provoking part of the whole book.) Anyway, this book has been highly acclaimed by many other individuals, so other readers are likely to disagree with me as well. Whatever floats you boat, I guess!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jay W Ward on February 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
Hands down the funniest thing I have read in a very long time. It nearly ruined my marrige. My wife would just be drifting off to sleep when I'd explode laughing over one of Mils' er... Pels exploits.
Buy this book, make someone you love shake their head in disgust.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
This very lightly plotted hilarious comedy by British writer Millington is apparently the spawn of a similarly titled website on which he posted vignettes of his life with his German girlfriend. This humble beginning has begat one of the funniest novels I've read in a long long time. There are basically two things going on here. The first is a running account of the comic bickering between 40ish hapless slacker "Pel" and his partner, the strong-willed German "Ursula". Their back and forth is dead funny-somewhat akin to P.G. Wodehouse's stories in which Bertie Wooster gets put in his place (and then some) by his Aunt Agatha, with a kind of Nick Hornby twist. It completely and utterly fulfills the "laugh out loud funny" cliché. Since we are only shown the moments of conflict between them, their relationship seems somewhat unreal, but it's so sidesplitting it's hard to care. Anyone who takes their nastiness to each other at face value is utterly missing the point of a comic novel.
While Pel and Ursula's trials center around finding and buying a new house, dealing with their two young boys, and a ski trip to Germany, the other plotline concerns Pel's work life as a hopelessly unqualified computer administrator at a college library. When his immediate boss TJR disappears without a trace, he's surprisingly asked to take his place. Plenty of wacky antics ensue, especially when some Chinese Triads turn up looking for some money TJR owed them. Not to mention the bodies being unearthed by the construction of the new wing of the library, which Pel is now in charge of... As the complications grow, Pel sticks his head deeper in the sand and things start to spiral out of control.
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