3 out of 4 stars
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Randy Love…At Your Service, a novel by Shay Carter, explores the life of a young British man living in 21st century England. Randy (the youngest of three children) apparently has the knowledge and foundational upbringing which should lead to a successful adulthood, yet he lacks common sense and maturity. Instead of capitalizing on opportunities which would lead to self-improvement, Randy desires the easy route, often performing the smallest amount of work for the largest amount of money. His ideal job is one that allows for little commitment with a vast amount of downtime, often used to recover from many hangovers. Alongside a successful brother and sister, Randy’s lazy demeanor, inconsistent work ethic, false sense of entitlement, and unrelenting promiscuity with women make him the oddball of the Love family. Ironically, Randy can see no wrong within himself, and often finds blaming others for life’s inconveniences is much easier than accepting responsibility. Nevertheless, this man’s infectious charm (in which he is well-aware of possessing) tends to override his faults and is used continually to bail him out of less than desirable situations, ultimately getting him what he wants.
Until finding Randy Love…At Your Service, I had never read a British work for sheer pleasure. Although I did have trouble with a conflict of ancestry (being a U.S. citizen), I still very much appreciated certain elements of this novel. For example, Randy is a self-centered, arrogant, and often lewd character. Yet, despite his less-than-desirable qualities, his family expresses unwavering support. I really admired how Carter intensified the bond of family throughout the book, rehashing numerous scenarios where dad and siblings alike continually come to Randy’s rescue (even though he is typically undeserving of their gratitude). I also found the format of the book to be an asset, given the content of the chapters and their nonchronological sequence. This style of writing allows the reader to regroup if s/he experiences confusion from one chapter to the next.
On the other hand, I did not like the fact that there was an abundance of characters mentioned throughout this work--some reappearing, others mentioned only briefly, often without an adequate amount of information. I found it extremely difficult to keep the characters straight, and nearly impossible at times to obtain character-building qualities. Also, the abundance of British terminology made the book hard for me to grasp. Fortunately, there is an index specifically provided for these words.
This book, without a doubt, is intended for an older audience; therefore, adults in general may be more inclined than younger readers to accept the recurring use of profanity and sexual references/situations. Also, individuals who are British, or have a close affiliation with the culture and language may appreciate the author’s slang, as this is a part of the book that is not only used in context, but also is crucial to the overall comprehension. In contrast, women may not think highly of the main character’s view of the opposite sex and his effortless ability to use them for whatever he sees fit--making these females appear small-minded and sleazy. Furthermore, people who have worked hard for their successes could feel a sense of jealously towards Randy’s advancements, as his “achievements” are gained on false pretentions, manipulation, and suave persuasion.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. The humorous tone coupled with a modern time-frame and a dose of English culture was appealing to me. However, I did struggle with the foreign vocabulary (including the spelling), the vast amount of characters, and the vivid accounts of intercourse. Additionally, I found numerous grammatical errors permeating the entire book.
Randy Love...at your service
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