Book Review: The Life & Soul of the Party, Mike Gayle

Mike Gayle is the author of seven best-selling novels. Previously a writer on teen magazines and features editor of Just Seventeen, he also works as a freelance journalist and writes for a variety of magazines including FHM, The Sunday Times and Cosmo. ‘The Life & Soul of the Party’ is his eagerly anticipated eighth novel.

Gayle introduces us to six principal characters in this book. First of all, we meet Melissa and Paul. Five years after their relationship came to an end, Paul is still looking for love in the wrong kinds of places, while Melissa still wants the one thing she can’t have, Paul. Next, we meet Chris and Vicky. They appear to be the perfect couple. So why is Chris still risking their relationship for a meaningless affair? Then there is Cooper and Laura. Cooper wants to settle down, but Laura wants to take a year out to go travelling. But if she does, can their relationship survive their time apart? 

The key to the success and popularity of all of Gayle’s previous novels has been their everyday situations and their believable and likeable characters that we the readers can empathise with. ‘The Life & Soul of the Party’ is no different. Melissa, Paul, Chris, Vicky, Cooper and Laura all feel familiar, and the narrative moves forward as they live their daily lives attending leaving do’s, birthday parties and anniversary celebrations. 

This is another warm, funny, and moving tale celebrating love and life. Gayle writes with his characteristic mix of painfully accurate observation and gentle humour. 

Fans of Gayle’s previous books will not be disappointed and new readers are sure to become instant Gayle groupies.

‘The Life & Soul of the Party’ is published in paperback on 21st August 2008, priced £11.99

* Photograph of Mike Gayle from