In Nick Earls’ “Bachelor Kisses” nothing really happens. That’s not an attack on the book, it’s merely a statement of fact. The blurb on the back describes three young people and their love lives being in some kind of chaos yet three hundred and ninety three pages later only one has made any significant process towards a “happy ending” and while I still enjoyed the book it’s fair to say I found that a little unsatisfying.
Bachelor Kisses revolves mainly around Jon, a young man who recently became a doctor and is now surprised to find that this is now getting him as much attention from the nurses as he likes. He’s not a pig about it or anything though and you can genuinely understand how these things just seem to end up happening (well, most of the time, his sheer inability to say no strikes me sometimes as bizarre). There is a lot of sex in Jon’s life and many up and downs to go with it but we learn far less about his two flatmates, Rick and Jen. I actually would have liked to learn more about these two, the man who has no idea what women like and seems to have a thing for Betty Boop and the woman who consumes men on a nightly basis. At certain points I almost got sick of Jon and wanted to focus on them for a while.
Much of the story takes place in the hospital where Jon works and a study he is trying to undergo involving patients with depression and melatonin (one of the brain chemicals that aids sleep). I really feel I should commend Nick Earl for managing to put in a surprising amount of medical lingo while not alienating a clueless person like myself! I’m saying this without knowing if Earl did serious research or if he just flicked through a few light medical text books but his writing on this is certainly believable enough to seem credible. That said though, now that I’ve read the book it seems as though Jon’s study was the only part of the story that seemed to move forwards and that is something of a disappointment.
I seem to be putting the book down a lot and I really don’t mean to. I enjoyed reading it immensely but I just wish there had been more, I wish I had seen more of the other characters, I wish that Jon had at least attempted to improve himself in some way. But perhaps I’m mistaking what kind of story this is. This is not a novel in the classic sense, this is a slice in time. This book is six months to a year that any one of us could have (well, any one of us with a Medical degree). Novels usually move forwards entirely unnaturally, with oh-so coincidental and dramatic meetings just to push the plot forwards but Bachelor Kisses does away with this almost entirely. It’s utterly natural and the characters completely believable, I just wish I’d had more time with all of them.