27 by RJ Heald

The most fantastic thing about Bangkok and indeed any place is the people you meet when you get here. What makes Thailand even better in my eyes is that there are thousands of people who have come here to make a dream come true. Some simply want to live on a tropical island, some want to set up their own business and some (like me) only discover their dream when they get here, and Thailand helps them to make it come true. Ruth came here and worked on completing her novel which was published last month.

Ruth is one of those great people who I met and had an instant connection with. She’s clever and funny – the kind of person you’d want to be sitting next to at a dinner party. As well as writing and self-publishing 27 she is also the creator of the Five Stop Story, a series of short stories which are designed to be read on the average tube journey (I wish my commute had been five stops). It’s a great way to connect new authors to a potential readership and perfect for anyone who is bored with day old news in the Metro.

Your 27th year is a turning point.
Kurt Cobain. Amy Winehouse. Janis Joplin.
They died at 27.
Six friends reunite in London. From the outside their lives are enviable; from the new father, to the rich entrepreneur to the carefree traveller. But underneath their facades they are starting to unravel. Dave is made redundant, Renee’s marriage is crumbling and Katie is forced to return home to her parents after six years abroad. In a world fuelled by social media and ravaged by recession, the friends must face up to the choices they must make to lead the lives they truly want to live.

27 is a novel that speaks to my generation. The ones whose lives are always connected, from our ‘friends’ on Facebook to intercontinental communication on our smart phones. Sometimes life can feel like a competition – there is always someone out there who has done it bigger and better. Career, a relationship, travel, buying a house, babies, all these things that you feel you need to tick off a list to make life magical.  27 takes you behind the happy snaps and the good news status updates and shows you the dark side.

Once I started 27 I couldn’t put it down. It was not so much that I liked the characters, some of them could be rather unpleasant and selfish. It was that I either recognised part of myself in it and had come across someone just like them in the past few years. I don’t take pleasure in other people’s downfalls (okay, sometimes I do) but it’s a relief to know that whilst you are going through your mid to late twenties trying to find significance in your life, other people are having problems as well.

27 takes your right to the heart of the kind of issues young graduates face. It’s an unflinching look at how shitty life can be, even if you have the degree, the boyfriend or the house. It’s a roller-coaster ride, although the characters face some pretty tough times, there are some great moments of humour too. It’s not just me who enjoyed it, Ruth also got short-listed for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel.

The book is available for download or in paperback on Amazon.  Instead of picking up the a trashy thriller next time you head to the beach give this a try.

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