Review: The List by Joanna Bolouri


Title: The List

Author: Joanna Bolouri

Published: Quercus US January 2015

Status: Read from January 02 to 03, 2015 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher/Edelweiss)

My Thoughts:

The List is the debut novel from Scottish freelance writer, Joanna Bolouri and was long listed for the 2014 Guardian’s Not the Booker prize.

Though it’s been a year since Phoebe Henderson found her boyfriend in their bed with another woman, she is still an emotional wreck. Desperate for something to change, on New Years Eve she decides to make a list designed to add excitement to her life – and comes up with ten sexual experiences she wants to try, from watching another couple have sex to mastering the art of dirty talk. All Phoebe needs is a willing partner to agree to a ‘no strings attached’ year of sexual experimentation, and luckily her best friend, Oliver, is willing to oblige.

Told in the first person, in a diary-like format, The List has a story that follows the classic arc of modern chick lit, but with a heroine that channels her angst into her sex life instead of finding romance. At thirty two, Phoebe is working in a job she hates selling advertising, living in a tiny flat, is still in love with her cheating ex-boyfriend and hopes completing The List will both re-energize her and exorcise the ghost of Alex. It all seems like a lot of fun at first but it quickly grows complicated when both hearts and minds become involved.

The List isn’t a story for anyone who blushes easily, the language is often lewd and the sexual interactions are described with candour. These things I don’t mind, but I have to admit I am a little uncomfortable with the idea that sex is the answer to Phoebe’s emotional issues. Personally I find it difficult to divorce sex from intimacy so I found her adventures to be a little sad and tawdry, even though I also admired her willingness to put herself out there.

A fast paced, witty and raunchy novel, The List is a feel-good read, in every sense of the phrase.

Available to Purchase From

Quercus I Amazon US I BookDepository I IndieBound

in Australia: via Booko



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. shrakkbookattack
    Jan 13, 2015 @ 02:00:12

    I really liked that you pointed out that normally the main characters actions are not the ‘correct’ way to deal with emotional distress and that you mentioned this is not something you yourself could necessarily do. I’m glad because it brings up the fact that fiction is not life and is not always a guideline to life. It is however a nice glimpse into an alternate reality where we can deal with our problems in any way we like.



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