Book Review: This Thirtysomething Life by Jon Rance


This Thirtysomething Life by Jon Rance
Release Date: 25th April 2013
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
Buy: Kindle Paperback
5 star


A romantic comedy for anyone who is, has been or is ever likely to be a grown up. Being a thirtysomething man isn’t easy (especially when you still yearn to be a twentysomething man). Meet Harry Spencer. History teacher, lover of snack food and terrified of growing up. However, when his wife Emily drops the P-Bomb, Harry is suddenly thrust into the role of expectant father. When he’s tempted by the greener grass of an ex-girlfriend past, Harry has to make the most important decision of his life. Does he have what it takes to become a man, or will he succumb to the lure of adolescent fantasy? This is a love story about what happens after we’ve fallen in love, when we’ve swapped frolicking in the bed for cigarettes in the shed and Match of the Day for Mothercare. Brutally honest, laugh-out-loud funny and heart-warming, this is a diary about one man’s bumbling journey on the road to adulthood.


This Thirtysomething Life has been on my ‘To-Be-Read’ list for quite a while now. I was initially drawn to the book by its cover featuring a mini pair of converse, so cute! However, when the chance to review Jon’s latest release, This Family Life, came up I knew that his debut novel would be whizzed to the top of my TBR pile so I could read the books in order. This Thirtysomething Life is written in a diary format by thirty two year old Harry Spencer. It follows his turbulent year after his wife announces that she is pregnant. Unsure as to whether he is ready to give fatherhood a shot Harry is faced with lots of difficult decisions and forced to mature in more ways than he can imagine…

I was gripped by this romantic comedy right from the start. It is a hilarious yet touching read and I loved the fact that it was written from a male perspective as so few books of this genre seem to be. Harry is a loveable, yet highly frustrating and genuinely ‘normal’ character. Yes he may make some silly choices but he’s only human and I loved reading his thoughts as he probably is saying what most people would be thinking anyway. It was fascinating to read about the journey to parenthood from a father’s point of view and I really enjoyed Harry’s (slightly belated) journey of growing up. I found it so easy to get engrossed in this book and being written in a diary format it’s a really easy, light read so don’t be surprised if you whizz through it and find yourself slightly disappointed that it has finished…

I would go so far as to say that Harry Spencer is the male equivalent of Bridget Jones and this is one of those rare books which I would imagine will appeal to both men and women for different reasons. There’s a really good storyline and so many loveable characters that you end up genuinely caring about (and some are just downright whacky…but of course this all contributes to just how crazy real life can be at times.) I loved, loved, loved Harry’s Granddad, William, especially. With Harry being a teacher there are plenty of funny school related moments too.

This is an endearing, heart warming and realistic novel and would definitely come under the category of ‘will make you laugh and cry at the same time’. It’s brilliantly written and has left me itching to get started on This Family Life. Whilst I’ve only read of a few male authors who write for this genre I would definitely put Jon Rance up there with the best of them. I love the character he has created with Harry and despite this being a genuinely hilarious book; there are plenty of poignant moments and hints that perhaps the grass isn’t always greener. If you haven’t yet read Thisthirtysomething life then definitely give it a go; it’s got something that will appeal to everyone…

*This Thirtysomething Life was my own personal copy*




Jon Rance is the author of the romantic comedy novel This Thirtysomething Life. He studied English Literature at Middlesex University, London, before going travelling and meeting his American wife in Australia. He’s currently working on his second novel Happy Endings. Both will be published by Hodder and Stoughton.

Jon writes romantic comedy fiction similar to the work of Mike Gayle, Matt Dunn and Nick Hornby.

Outside of writing, Jon loves travelling, music, sit-coms, art, watching (but not playing anymore due to dodgy knees) football. He drinks tea frequently, enjoys pies and the occasional beer.


 Follow Jon on Twitter: @JRance75



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