Book Review: Goose

I've always been a big fan of Dawn O'Porter. Not only does she have the most awesome style (I am stupidly excited about her new vintage fashion TV series, This Old Thing), but her Twitter feed is laugh-out-loud funny and her Glamour magazine column is straight-talking in the manner of an older sister. Her first novel, Paper Aeroplanes, was one of my favourite books of the last few years, so I was very excited for the sequel, Goose.

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Goose picks up eighteen months after Paper Aeroplanes left off, with friends Renee and Flo finishing their A-levels and deciding what to do next - Flo wants the two of them to go off to university together, whereas Renee isn't sure as usual. When Flo finds a boyfriend - and Christianity - the friendship between the two girls is tested to its limits.

Initially I didn't enjoy Goose as much as Paper Aeroplanes, because I felt like it signposted itself slightly along the way - the big shocking plot point is pretty obvious from the beginning, so its impact was a bit lessened by the time I actually got to it - and that Flo and Renee didn't grow as much as in the first book. I think part of this was because the focus shifts to Flo a bit more, and I think O'Porter finds it slightly easier to write for Renee as she's more of a semi-autobiographical character. It wasn't that I disliked the book, but more that I'd enjoyed Paper Aeroplanes so much and was so excited about the sequel that it fell slightly flat for me.

However, on re-reading it, I'm actually enjoying it a whole lot more. There are some laugh-out-loud funny phrases (unfortunately they're mostly too rude to put on a blog for a family audience), but also some perfectly pitched moments of poignancy - in particular the scene where Flo spots her school bully Sally, now a teen mother, pushing her baby in his pram. And I actually really liked seeing the test of Flo and Renee's friendship; whereas their not growing frustrated me slightly the first time round, it now makes total sense that there needs to be that sense of stagnation for the overall plot to move forward at the end. But the book's brilliance is in O'Porter's ability to capture the intensity of those teenage friendships and the way they change as you find out who you are. The soundtrack was the Spice Girls rather than the pop-punk and emo of my time at sixth form, but O'Porter really threw me back to the same time in my own life where something very similar happened to me and made it as vivid as if it was yesterday, even though it was eight years ago now.

On balance, I enjoyed Goose more on the second read. It's definitely a book for those of you who like something quick and easy - both times I read it in an hour, and was sad to leave Flo and Renee when I'd finished. I'm hoping that next time there's a bit more of a gap in publication (I do wonder if the short time between the two books coming out affected Goose's rushed feeling slightly) and that O'Porter gets a bit more comfortable writing for Flo, but I'm looking forward to seeing where they are next time we meet them.

Have you read Goose or Paper Aeroplanes? What's your favourite book about friendship?


  1. Awwwwwwww I love Dawn too! Did you manage to see her on her book tour? I did a little write up about it on my blog -

    I haven't actually got round to reading Goose yet, I've been so rubbish at reading recently :(

    Too excited about her new TV show? Any idea when it's being aired?

    Chloe x

    1. She did a book tour?! Aw no, gutted I missed that! Will have to wait for the next one now I suppose...

      Not sure on the TV show - on the Facebook page they said they're still waiting for a date as of about a week ago. I keep checking back because I really don't want to miss it when it starts!