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20 August 2013

Review: 'Casting the Net - Volume 1' by Julie McDowall

Anyone who's dabbled with internet dating has a story to tell, but few can tell them with as much wit and honesty as Julie McDowall.

Her online dating blog became an instant sensation on when she charted her bizarre and hilarious experiences in search of the perfect man. Or at least a man who wasn't a total freak. Or, failing that, a freak who was freaky in the right ways...

Now for the first time CASTING THE NET - VOLUME 1 presents the unexpurgated true story of her ongoing quest for love, including all the material deemed unfit for a family newspaper. Join the eloquent and intrepid McDowall as she tackles The Janny, The Accountant, The Comedian, Foxy Doctor, the inimitable Shug -- and her ultimate nemesis, The Clown.

When I received a review request for Julie McDowall's 'Casting the Net', at first I wasn't sure whether this book would be something for me. I hardly ever read any non-fiction and I'm also not a big fan of columns or anything of the like. However, the fact that the book describes Julie's adventures in the world of online dating straight away sparked my interest. I've never tried online dating myself, but I think it is something people in the modern day and age are fascinated by, and I felt myself wanting to read about the experiences of someone who actually tried it. So, as soon as a review copy fell onto my doormat I added it to my to-read pile, looking forward to picking up my first non-fiction review copy!

'Casting the Net' is the first volume of two in which author Julie McDowall shares her experiences with internet dating. At the start of the book, Julie breaks up with her horrible boyfriend who loves alcohol a bit too much, and is forced to move in with her grandmother. After a short period of time, she finds a new place of her own, but also decides that she needs to get back in the field and start dating again. Internet dating offers an interesting and exciting opportunity, after hearing positive things from her friends, and this is where Julie's journey begins. Different men come into the picture, including a janitor, an accountant and a clown (yes, really), as the reader joins Julie on her quest to find the perfect man.

'Casting the Net' is a book that isn't very long (about 200 pages) and incredibly easy to read; I managed to finish it in one day, on my train journeys from and to work. I specifically admired Julie's guts to actually try internet dating, giving all these different kinds of men a chance by going on a date with them, and then sharing her experiences with the world. She isn't embarrassed and completely honest; she's willing to actually write down the things most of us only dare to think after going on a date with someone. Julie McDowall shares her experiences with all of us, and she doesn't even do it anonymous, so I definitely applaud her for that.  

The book is slightly darker than a regular chick lit novel, but this also gives it a realistic edge to it. I have to say that sometimes it felt more like fiction than non-fiction to me; some aspects of the book, including some of the characters, really had a fictional feel to them, which resulted in me reading the book like it was fiction, instead of a true story. Julie's experiences didn't make me laugh out loud, but I can certainly imagine that other readers find it thoroughly entertaining. I'm quite curious to find out who Julie will eventually end up with, so I would probably read Volume 2 to see what is going to happen. Overall, an interesting non-fiction account of a woman's adventures within the world of Internet dating, fitting to the modern day and age, and based on true life, which I think many readers will enjoy!


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