The Stag and Hen Weekend

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The Stag and Hen Weekend, Mike Gayle, book reviewIf I am looking for a light and entertaining read then I am always happy to pick up any of Mike Gayle’s books. His novels are always amusing and provide a fabulous insight into a lad’s point of view. In his latest book, The Stag and Hen Weekend, the readers still gets this but they are also treated to the female perspective too. To be honest, this is really two books in one as the reader is invited along on both Helen’s hen weekend at a country spa and Phil’s stag weekend in Amsterdam. This couple have been together about ten years and finally after turning down Phil’s numerous proposals, Helen finally popped the question herself. Helen has quite a bit of emotional baggage though especially as she nearly made it to the altar once before until she discovered what a lying cheat her former fiancé really was. Not that that is likely to be the case with Phil though who she knows really loves her.

There is no actual front or back cover with The Stag and Hen Weekend. Instead one side is pink and the other is blue. Open the book on the pink side and you join Helen’s weekend but if you turn over and up the other way on the blue side, you will end up in Amsterdam with Phil. Both stories, upside down to each other meet in the middle of the book. Therefore, when you first pick up the book, you have a decision to make – who’s weekend do you read about first?

I opted to read about Helen’s weekend first. She and her friends head off to the countryside for a luxurious spa weekend. Things start off well and the girls have a great weekend drinking, laughing and reminiscing. Unfortunately, things start going a bit pear shaped when Helen bumps into Aiden, her first love and the man who cheated on her just before they were going to be married. Things get worse when Caitlin, Helen’s soon to be sister-in-law arrives and is as unfriendly and interfering as usual. By the end of the weekend, Helen’s mind is in complete turmoil and it’s anyone’s guess whether she will actually go ahead with the wedding either.

“It’s a very light read and would make great holiday reading.”

Things are no better with Phil’s stag do in Amsterdam either. He never really wanted this weekend anyway and would have much preferred a few pints at his local followed by a curry. All of his mates, however, are determined to party and when his ageing hippy father turns up that can only mean trouble. Like Helen’s. Phil’s weekend does not turn out quite the way he expected especially when he bumps into a young woman with whom he has more in common than he first realises. He also starts to have serious doubts about the following weekend’s forthcoming ceremony.

Both stories end at the finish of the weekends so the reader never gets to find out whether the wedding will go ahead but I would like to think that the signs are promising. Perhaps Mike Gayle is already planning the sequel! I very much hope so as I really wanted to know what happened next!

I really enjoyed The Stag and Hen Weekend and found both stories really entertaining and a lot of fun. Mike Gayle has created some great characters and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about both groups’ antics. There were the typical stag and hen capers and more than a few hangovers each morning. It’s a very light read and would make great holiday reading.

Although I enjoyed both stories, I think I might have preferred it if they had been interspersed with each other and therefore I would not have had to decide which one to read first. Also, it would have been easier to follow the parallel movements of the two groups. This is just a small personal criticism and in other ways it was a good idea to make two separate stories.

Overall though, The Stag and Hen Weekend is a fabulous read and I think that once again Mike Gayle has written a winning book! I would definitely recommend it.

The Stag and Hen Weekend by Mike Gayle
Published by Hodder & Stoughton, February 2012
I am very grateful to the publishers for sending me a review copy.

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Stag and Hen Weekend, The
by Mike Gayle

2 Comments on "The Stag and Hen Weekend"

  1. Ania
    03/02/2012 at 08:14 Permalink

    It’s just too bad that you gave away the ending. I don’t think i will read it now.

  2. Paul
    01/09/2012 at 04:02 Permalink

    Amazed you enjoyed the book, but you are certainly right it is “light reading”. Did you not find it wooden and stereotyped though? I had read one other of his books and found it vaguely “annoying” but just about tolerable, this one however just took things beyond the limit of what I can even be bothered to read. Oh and by the way – there is nothing new about the format – Carol Shields wrote “Larry’s Party” on the same theme I think years and years ago (a fine book!) and I doubt she was the first too….

    Did not mean to rant or be too opinionated, but did find it odd that you had enjoyed the whole thing so much

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Written by kingfisher

My name is Jo and I have been married to Simon for nine years. We have two beautiful daughters – Rachel who is six and Natalie who is almost five and starting school in January. I also have two step children aged twenty one and seventeen so family life is never dull. I also manage to work three days for a local education authority where I support the teaching of literacy in primary schools. I love my job and it’s ideal for a book lover like me. In my spare time I run, dance and occasionally tread the boards with my local amateur dramatics group. My first love is reading though and you will never find me without a book on the go. My husband is also an avid reader and we are hoping to pass on our love of reading to our daughters. They certainly love their bedtime stories every night. Although I have and English degree and I am familiar with most of the classics, I generally read much lighter stuff these days. It’s mainly ‘chic lit’ but I also enjoy a good thriller or courtroom drama. I have so many favourite authors and this list tends to change regularly depending on what I am reading.

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