Cover Image: Life, Slightly

Life, Slightly

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Member Reviews

I absolutely loved The Pursuit of Ordinary when I read it - wow 4 years ago - so I was quite excited to see this available for review. Especially when I found out that it publishes on my birthday :)
(Note to self - bump Beat the Rain up to read soon)
So... Gavin and Jackie meet in a park. They are, on the face of things, strangers. Although they really aren't as Jackie is connected to Gavin already. He just doesn't know. As the two of them tell their respective stories, a whole world starts to open up. One of missed chances, second chances, third chances, never say never, wrong choices and, well, basically life and what it throws you... Mostly though, it's about the best thing to do really not necessarily being the best thing for everyone (especially yourself). How doing the right thing isn't always right and, how far down the road do you need to go before you realise that and whether it is ever too late to change and can you really do something about it. Can you really "come of age" as an adult!
Actually it's about a whole lot more - and it will be different things to different people. You can read it just as a story staring these characters, for fun and entertainment, or you can take some of what happens to them, the themes contained herein and maybe use that to change some things in your own life. I think I did a bit of both... Reflected definitely...
It's so very well written and the characters all feel so very real and so easy to connect to / emote with. I laughed with them - there is some great black humour herein - and also cried a little along the way too. That said, although heavy at times, the author does manage to keep the book balanced and it never dips too far...
All in all, a cracking, and very poignant read and, once I have had time to fully digest its contents, one I will definitely be re-reading. And I don't often (hardly ever) re-read.
My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
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What happens when you deny your true self in order to avoid conflict and comply with other’s expectations of you?

Gavin married his college sweetheart, had a son, but hated the well-paying job he obtained from his wife’s uncle. To keep the peace at home, he let his wife make all the decisions affecting him personally and that of the family, which destroyed his own happiness.

More importantly, he suppressed his feelings for a fellow male teenager he met in high school, which haunted him throughout his adult years.

We learn the details of Gavin’s life when he starts a conversation with a stranger on a park bench. This woman, Jackie, is able to bring out the stories of strangers, but is deeply scarred herself. Having no family or friends, the only way she can emotionally protect herself is to avoid all self-reflection. She accomplishes this by trying to help others who she feels are more emotionally damaged than she is.

"Life, Slightly" wrestles with self-sabotage, guilt, shame, and denial. This is not only a story about embracing a path of self-discovery, but also one of those who refuse to. The lives and ordeals of the supporting characters provide elements of surprise to the reader and their inner turmoil is often felt in secret.

The author doesn’t fall into the trap of making this a one-sided pity-party, as Gavin eventually realizes that his early actions due to wanting to be accepted would deeply hurt others and this pain would last throughout their lives. There isn’t only one victim here.

Readers who welcome realistic accounts of life, will enjoy this novel. "Life, Slightly" shows us that life is messy, but we must accept and live all of it.

(The complete review will be posted on UnderratedReads on  9/30/22)
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.I have read another book by this author and enjoyed it. This one for me was not very true to life. Jackie sits on a bench waiting....finally she sees Gavin and although he does not know her, she knows all about him. She starts a conversation and soon he is telling her his life story. This was the main theme throughout the book. I could not identify with the characters although the story was interesting.
I thank the author,  publisher and Netgalley for my ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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This was my first book by Nigel Jay Cooper and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought the premise was interesting and it made me stop and think about life. Thanks for letting me check it out!
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4.5 stars rounded up

**TRIGGER WARNING** suicidal thoughts, child abuse/neglect, sexual assault and alcoholism

When Gavin meets Jackie in a bench at the local park, he thinks she's a stranger. She knows better. She's connected to him in ways she can't yet imagine. She swore she wouldn't so this again but it's real this time. So real she might do something reckless and tell him everything. He'll understand it wasn't her fault, not really. Perhaps he'll forgive her even if she can never forgive herself.

This is a well written story about second chances. The characters are well fleshed out and likeable. I was instantly hooked and found it hard to put the book down. Although the story includes some tricky situations, they were sensitively written. Gavin is a complex character that many people will be able to relate to. This is a story about life and all the problems and secrets we keep. This book gave me lots of things to think about and some of it will stick with me. This is by far the best book i have read so far by the author.
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CW: sexual assault, suicidal thoughts, alcoholism, child abuse/neglect, death, COVID

"Two strangers, one bench. Two lives, one lie."

Thank you to Nigel Jay Cooper, NetGalley, and Roundfire Books for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 
This was one of the first ARCs I received and it was a great first read by this author, too. Life, Slightly takes you into the lives of two seeming strangers and how they intersect, with this little air of mystery. It has a slower pace and, while I love a great fast read, I appreciated that Cooper conveyed the passage of time in this novel. Took time to draw out these complicated characters and reveal them to the reader as they make revelations to themselves. Another reviewer said that it was written like a Sally Rooney novel and I have to agree. 
4 out of 5 stars
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When Gavin meets Jackie on a bench in the local park, he thinks she's a stranger. She knows better. She’s connected to him in ways he can’t yet imagine.

She swore she wouldn’t do this again but it's real this time. So real, she might do something reckless and tell him everything.

He’ll understand. It wasn’t her fault, not really. Perhaps he’ll forgive her, even if she can never forgive herself. Such a well crafted novel, compelling enough to pull you through and very quick read. I enjoyed it so much from the first page till the end.
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First time read from this author, not a disappointment. Such beautifully written novel which depicts a story of two strangers who has two different stories to tell, Gavin & Jackie.  A story of choices that sometimes you will wonder if its the right one or just a repeat of what really needs to happen.

Well recommended read.

Thank you Netgalley & John Hunt Publishing for the ARC.

3.6/5 stars
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Cleverly written and conceived, the story of flawed human beings and their attempts to rectify past mistakes and redeem themselves in order to survive. I was deeply invested in their stories and fascinated by the immediacy of covid restrictions and experiences informing the plot. A gentle but impactful read.
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Unfortunately I did not enjoy this book. I really wanted to feel more for these characters but they felt very one dimensional. The mystery of who Jackie was and how she knew about Gavin was strange and disappointing. The love story that was at the heart of everything was not fully developed and I felt like as a reader, I was being asked to fill in the blanks way too much. Everything felt rushed and I really wish the author would have taken the time to build the relationships and the characters. They all felt like caricatures of themselves. 
I think the frustrating part for me was that it was almost good. There is definitely a story in there, with people that I almost cared about.
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I can’t believe my luck to have found this gem of a book. I confess, I AM a shallow person and I do choose my books based on the cover rather than the blurb - and in this case it was Awais Khan’s praise on the cover (“Compulsively readable like a thriller, but beautifully written like a Sally Rooney novel…”) that made me pick this one up. I didn’t know what to expect, but I really didn’t anticipate to stay up way too late torn between wanting to know all about Gavin’s story and not wanting this story to ever come to an end.

I loved the captivating storytelling, the well crafted characters (who truly mess up), and the beautiful message of hope. Life, Slightly shows that life happens while you’re busy making plans - especially when you’re putting off being happy first. So do yourself a favor and put this novel on your TBR pile. It’s phenomenal.
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Absolutely breathtakingly lovely book. I really could not stop reading it. It makes you evaluate your own life and situation to make sure you are making the most of every moment.
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Oh wow! A stunning read that may just make you stop and think. Jackie is talking to Gavin, getting him to open up to her about his life as he’s rather melancholy. Gavin thinks Jackie is a stranger, only she knows more about him than he realises. Gavin is married and has an eight year old son. When they were all at school Gavin had a close friend Steve and discovered something he wasn't aware of. Something he has tried to deny ever since but it hasn't gone away which is causing him angst. 
There's something special about this book, something I can't quite put my finger on. I liked Gavin and felt for his predicament. It's about life with all its ups and downs and the secrets we keep, sometimes without realising why. Relationships and the complexity therein and being true to ourselves as well as to others. There are plenty of wise words in this book, ones that made me stop, pause the reading and read again to sink in- to me a voice of experience in life and a reflection. It's a heartwarming read and one that grabbed my heart and left me with a smile- not only at the ending but about life itself. The past is just that, tomorrow isn't a given. Today is the present- treat it well. 
For more reviews please follow me on Twitter@nickisbookblog
(rest of links on publication)
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Nigel Jay Cooper gives us, again, wonderful characters.  The topics discussed between two characters while sitting on a park bench are timely and relevant. Cooper's talent with narrative pulls the reader in and holds us in his thrall.  Excellent!
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This was a really enjoyable, immersive and at times, emotional read with well rounded, and authentic  characters and an intriguing premise. The writing was intelligent and thought provoking with some really beautiful passages. The characters drew me in and I found myself truly invested in their stories which kept me engaged throughout. There was much to take away from this book in the way of observations and reflections on human connections and relationships, and the impact of the choices we make and is ultimately a powerful, compelling and engaging story that will stay with me. This is the first book I have read by this author, despite having had his earlier books on my wish list for some time. I will definitely be rectifying that as I am keen to read more, especially learning that characters in this book feature in earlier books. Thanks to NetGalley and John Hunt Publishing for the opportunity to read.
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Gavin meets Jackie in the local park. He doesn't think he knows her but she knows exactly who he is. As they talk and share their personal stories, their connections gradually emerge. There is a delicate drip feed of past actions and and consequent emotions.

This is a beautifully written novel about the nature of life and the way in which we choose to live it. Do we know ourselves well enough to live our best lives? Are we brave enough to do so or be prepared to live with regret? 

The characters are totally realistic and the author demonstrates his mastery of genuine and engaging dialogue. I can hear and see Gavin and Jackie as they converse in the park. Although the narrative moves between the present and the past it all takes place on the bench in the park. There is a rewarding intimacy in this setting which is completely engaging. 

I highly recommend this very special book. It is rewarding as a standalone but it also features characters from Nigel Cooper's previous novels, Beat the Rain and The Pursuit of the Ordinary which are also terrific reads.
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A heart breaking story in so many ways, this one won't fail to keep you hooked in whilst breaking your heart at stages too. So relevant to real life, you will be moved by this book.
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I am a big fan of Nigel Jay Cooper's work and this story did not disappoint. It took some pages for me to wrap my head around the nuances of Jackie but then I was hooked. After finishing the last pages I can't shake the thought of the stories that are behind the people we cross paths with every single day. Would we be kinder if we knew their history? Could It be freeing to tell a stranger our honest raw emotions? This novel revolves around two people doing just that. The characters are well developed with compelling storylines that kept me turning the pages as I had to know more. I read this quickly because I simply didn't want to put It down. 

A special thank you to Nigel Jay Cooper and NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Oh my! Cooper is one of my favorite all-time authors so I may have let out a little "whoop" when I received this ARC! Like his other two novels, Cooper is able to infuse honesty, humor, and remarkable insights into every book he writes. At the heart of this one is protagonist Gavin, and Jackie who is an eccentric soul he meets by chance on a park bench. As he reveals his "story," we see a haunted young man who was bullied in school and afraid to admit his attraction to other boys, even when he kissed classmate Steve. Told in alternating past and present, the book reveals his eventual marriage, the birth of his son, and his ambivalent feelings about his sexuality that he alternately hides but can't deny. There are so many relevant themes that Cooper addresses: rejection, addiction, social anxiety, and passion--just to name a few! Gavin comes to realize his "cage" doesn't have to trap him forever and I am still tearing up after reading this fabulous novel. Just hope Cooper is at work on his next one!
Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!
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