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In search of Mr AnybodyDont You Want MeIndia KnightPenguin 699 pp272Sex and the Single Girl may be a worn-out old trollop of a theme but theres mileage yet in Sex and the Single Mum - or so India Knight believesLike Clara Hutt the heroine of her hyped debut novel My Life on a Plate Estelle de la Croix is blessed with a big house nice clothes and a healthy appetite She is also twice divorced the wrong side of 35 and the mother of a golden-haired toddler named Honey which means that although shes no harried housewife sex is decidedly off-menuIn addition to her ex-husbands and her ambisexual French papa Stellas modishly extended family includes Frank her artist as pop star lodger who would be perfect third husband material if only he werent such a slag and so very ginger Each night she dozes off to the gur-runting lullaby of Frank and his latest conquest And so inspired by Franks example Stella zips herself into an LBD and steps out in search of lustUnusually for this pink-jacketed genre Stella is a heroine hunting neither Mr Right nor Mr Maybe - any man will do she tells herself even a roaring perma-tanned plastic surgeon Sadly though the resulting rollercoaster of toe-curling bed action over-age drugs and disco hits is punctuated less by howls of orgasmic triumph than the hungover eurghs and aarghs of shameHowever greedily Stella may pump Frank for his definition of a dirty ride casual sex makes her feel grubby and unmaternal worse still she just cannot take it seriously Do men do this she asks Frank over a bleary-eyed breakfast I mean have hysterics the next morningAlong with a fondness for phrases like giving the horn the title of this novel is a purely period touch since Stella herself is blessedly incapable of introspection Instead she casts a smugly scathing eye over boho conventions like getting Not Married and fur-coat-and-no-knickers restaurants where the
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