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Behaving Like Adults: A Novel Hardcover – May 13, 2003

2.9 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The heroine of Maxted's third comic confessional (after Running in Heels) is 29-year-old Holly, the incurably optimistic founder of a London dating agency called Girl Meets Boy. The agency is a hit, but, natch, Holly has her own boy troubles: her ex-fiance, Nick, takes his time moving out, and in the meantime infuriates her with his resolutely boyish sensibility (he makes his living dressing up as Mr. Elephant at children's parties). Holly sets herself up with Stuart, a promising applicant at her agency who turns out to be very different from what she imagined: he rapes her on their first date. The experience leaves her so numb and confused that she's not even sure it was rape, and comes up with heartbreaking rationalizations ("Well, here's the truth-I'm so ashamed I'm almost too embarrassed to say-but while he pinned me down, I held my stomach in. See? That proves it. If a woman is being you know, she wouldn't hold in her stomach"). She becomes depressed, makes bad business decisions, fights with her sister Claudia and bewildered friend Rachel and makes the bizarre choice to see Stuart again. Worst of all, she can't trust anyone anymore. Holly's road back to happiness is a long one, not helped by Stuart suing her for defamation when she eventually goes public with the facts. Maxted takes Holly's ordeal seriously, but her attempts to keep a light tone come off awkwardly. To Maxted's credit, Holly never becomes pitiful or self-dramatizing, but the author sometimes errs on the side of glibness, making this an oddly breezy read punctuated by jarring moments of anguish.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Maxted, author of Getting Over It (2000) and Running in Heels (2001), once again tells the story of a young woman at a crossroads in her life. Holly Appleton is running a dating service called "Girl Meets Boy" with the help of her sister, Claudia, and her friend, Nigel. She's just broken off her engagement to Nick, who is handsome and caring but too immature. Holly decides to jump back into the dating scene by choosing a "Girl Meets Boy" client. She picks Stuart, and the choice turns out to be disastrous. Stuart is slick and arrogant, and after their second date, he forces himself on Holly. Unable to even call what Stuart did to her rape, Holly sinks into depression. To make matters worse, "Girl Meets Boy" gets some bad publicity, and Nick's parents tell him that he is adopted, bringing out his insecurities. Maxted manages to maintain a light tone and still address Holly's plight with the seriousness it deserves. Holly and Nick are so likable that the reader can't help rooting for them. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1st edition (May 13, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060096675
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060096670
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,950,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Reviewer Dr. Beth #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is the second book I've read by Anna Maxted, and I'm beginning to notice a pattern. She begins each book with a light, breezy tone, introducing us to a female main character who is in her late 20s, successful, and who initially comes across as somewhat superficial and shallow. However, a life-altering event intervenes, and then the main character (as well as the book itself) becomes more complex and substantial.

In this case, the main character is Holly Appleton, owner of the successful dating company Girl Meets Boy. The intervening event is a date rape which she experiences when she agrees to go out with Stuart, one of her clients, in an attempt to move on after the recent end of her engagement to Nick, the ex-fiance who is still living with her in their shared home. Following the date rape, Holly becomes incapacitated, and her life begins to fall apart bit by bit: Nick finally moves out, her business starts to go under, and Stuart keeps reappearing in her life. Even after Holly finally acknowledges the rape to her sister, Claudia, and reports Stuart to the police, she still can't quite get herself back together; it takes the rest of the book for her to realize that only SHE has the power to reclaim her life.

As a psychologist, I believe that the portrayal of Holly's confusion about the rape was dead on, from her reluctance to acknowledge her experience as a sexual assault to her feelings of guilt and shame to her unreasonable fears and behaviors. Happily, the book also displays an accurate picture of what happens when a rape is reported as well as the beneficial role which therapy can play in healing. Although the subject of the book is both deep and difficult at times, in the end, optimism prevails, and so does Holly.
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Format: Hardcover
Getting Over It is one of my favorite chick lits of all time. Even though I was not impressed with her second novel, Running in Heels, Anna Maxtet is one of my favorite authors of the aforementioned genre. She, aside from Marian Keyes and Jillian Medoff, is the only modern romance writer who mixes dark issues with lighthearted humor. And she has outdone herself with Behaving Like Adults.
In Adults, Maxtet introduces us to Holly, a twenty-nine-year-old woman whose dating agency, Girl Meets Boy, is a growing success. However, her personal life isn't as impressive as her thriving career. Nick, her fiance, refuses to grow up, and so she decides to put an end to their courtship. Little had she imagined that her professional and personal life would take rapid turns toward disaster after she embarks upon a date with someone from her agency...
In typical Maxtet tradition, there are as many laugh out loud moments in this novel as there are poignant ones. Maxtet tackles some rather serious situations with a great deal of insight and wit. I also love the eccentric characters -- Claudia, Rachel and Nige are my favorite ones! And what about Maxtet's unique writing style? Hers is the sort of language that sounds conversational without really trying. I know that I'm resorting to some tiresome cliches here, but I couldn't put this book down and I hated to see it end. A definite page-turner! I so look forward to reading another novel from this talented British writer. Behaving Like Adults is a great reading investment. Enjoy!
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Format: Hardcover
At the beginning of "Behaving Like Adults," Holly Appleton appears to have it all together. The successful owner of Girl Meets Boy, a dating service for individuals "beautiful inside and out," she takes pride in bringing people together and in her rosy view of the world. Still sharing the house with Nick, her ex-fiancé, rankles Holly, so she and her friends at Girl Meets Boy decide to speed up the process of getting him to move out.
And thus begins the minor event that causes everything else to happen in the novel. After some coaxing, Holly agrees to go out with one of the new members of the dating service. Things do not go well and he does something that shakes her belief in herself and in the essential goodness of the world.
Once that belief is gone, Holly has trouble in dealing with the everyday happenings in her own life, much less those of her beloved dating service. As things worsen with her, so do they worsen with Girl Meets Boy.
Her sister and co-worker, Claudia, tries to get through to Holly, tries to get her to see the good in the world again. With the support of her sisters, her friends, her clients, not to mention the reappearance of Nick in Holly's life, slowly she finds the inner faith that helped the dating service become successful in the first place.
Although this book could be termed "chick lit" because of its themes, Anna Maxted brings a reality to her characters that goes beyond such labels. Despite the fact that the novel is set in London, and some of the more British turns of phrase are unfamiliar, the reader is drawn into the world of Holly and her cohorts at Boy Meets World.
Maxted is able to make these people seem like friends, co-workers or others you might know. She also brings a lightheartedness to the novel so that even in its darkest moments, you know things will work out. As Nick tells Holly at one point - most people want to see a happy ending.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have loved Maxted's previous work, but maybe it was her attempt to tackle darker, heavier topics like date-rape and yet somehow try to maintain the breezy chick lit tone that made this novel slightly unpalatable. Also, again this could be in deference to subject matter, <i> Behaving Like Adults </i> just wasn't funny (even when it tried to be) and all of the minor characters seemed an awkward hodgepodge rather than a convincing group of friends and family.
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