It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake (Claire Christian, Text)
Claire Christian’s first adult novel is billed as a contemporary romantic comedy and while there is a delicious romance plot, the true love story is between the eponymous protagonist and herself. At the beginning of It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake our main character is in her mid-30s, single after the end of a long-term relationship, in a job she no longer finds fulfilling, and restless with a sense that time is running out. Supported by her gorgeous best friend Lindell, Noni decides to take a break from her life with the hope of starting over. There’s something almost fairytale-like about this story, a quest that begins with a ‘fuck-it’ list and ends with the protagonist finding her place in the world—older, wiser and rewarded for her efforts with self-confidence, a sense of purpose and stronger relationships. If the pacing of the novel sometimes drags, the messy charm of the main character and the infectious optimism that fuels the narrative more than make for it. It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake is the fun, wise, progressive chick-lit story to get us through 2020.
Kate Cuthbert is program manager at Writers Victoria.