In The Flip Side by James Bailey, Josh experiences his own personal 2020 slightly ahead of the rest of us. Picture the scene, it’s New Year’s Eve and 135 meters above the ground in a pod on the London Eye, Josh proposes to his girlfriend, only to find out that she’s been having an affair. In the twenty nine minutes it takes for the pod to come down to the ground, Josh loses his girlfriend, his job and his home.
With his faith in his own judgement shaken, Josh decides to outsource his judgement to a 50p coin – resolving that for a year he will flip the coin to make every decision, in the hope that the coin can help him find direction, and perhaps true love.
If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a thousand times, big public proposals bring me out in hives. I think they’re manipulative, unless you’re with someone who is definitely into performing a relationship in public, they feel like a way of coercing someone into saying yes when they’re borderline. So I have to admit I really enjoyed the cringe factor of the opening scene of The Flip Side by James Bailey in which Josh’s proposal crashes and burns.
And this is a novel of cringe, and really good fun if you like awkward humour. It’s been compared to The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary, but I’d say that this is more sitcom than romcom, with the awkward situations Josh finds himself in with his friends and his family being some of the funniest parts of the novel, though I did quite like Josh’s search across Europe for his manic pixie dream girl.
I found reading this novel quite bittersweet at the moment. So much of the action takes place in pubs, at family parties etc. it was an odd sensation reading it in lockdown, especially with a looming Brexit which could make a plane hopping trip across Europe an impossibility for Britons before too very long.
Despite that, it’s a light and bright read which is a nice distraction from the state of the world at the moment.