Louise Bell’s novel The Final Summer of Vodka is a light-hearted romp through the alcohol fuelled nights and hangover daze of 30 year old single Brit Lei who lives in Marmaris, Turkey. Having already met, split from, got back together with, broken up with again The Turkish One (aka Mr Wrong) about a zillion times, she’s looking for Mr Right, but no matter how much vodka she consumes, The One stays in her heart and mind. As a result, she’s decided to give herself one last summer to find the real Mr Right.
Unfortunately, Lei has the ability to fixate on the wrong type of guy like a well-trained homing pigeon. Even when all the signs are screaming “Wrong Way, Go Back!” in bright neon lights, she goes out on dates with men she knows in advance aren’t her type, don’t turn her on and don’t even speak English, desperately trying to make them into the man of her dreams. Even when she realises she’s met her match, he’s Mr Wrong too.
The Final Summer of Vodka is written in diary form, full of spelling mistakes, half-finished sentences and lots of swearing, which make the reader feel they have a privileged glimpse into Lei’s private life. There are some brilliant lines like “We ended up snogging on the sofa like a pair of mentally disturbed teenagers filled with angst”, and “After consuming enough alcohol to have powered a village for three years we headed down to bar street”, which made me snort with laughter. However I wanted more to know more about the other people in the book. I think The Final Summer of Vodka would have benefitted from the other characters in story being developed more fully so we’d get a better sense of Lei’s motley crew of off again on again friends (think about your teenage BFF relationships – only forever until you fight – and you’ll get the picture).
That said, if you’ve ever found yourself weeping hysterically on the couch at five in the morning after a Saturday night bender, frantically texting the man you call a “Bastard”, with no affection intended, for the last time, ever, really never again, until next time, then this book is for you.
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Title: The Final Summer of Vodka: The Marmaris Diaries
Date: July, 2016