Downtown, Jul 2004, 13.00, 352 pp.
In London, thirty-one years old Dave Harding is a music journalist for Louder magazine, a publication that boasts that its audience is “people who live for music” while his beloved wife Izzy works at Femme Magazine. He likes his work there so is a bit taken back when the magazine folds.
Through a friend Jenny, Izzy gets Dave a job as an agony aunt at Teen Scene. Dave provides relationship and other advice to mostly adolescent girls. Leery when he first started because he took himself seriously as a music critic, Dave soon realizes he is enjoying the advice column. However, as Izzy recovers from a miscarriage, Dave believes his biological clock is running down and needs a baby to feel fulfilled. Everything changes when thirteen-year-old Nicola sends him a letter at teen Scene insisting that he is not her agony uncle, but her biological father. He quickly believes she is right, but agonizes how to tell Izzy still healing from her miscarriage as he is terrified by how the woman who he loves with all his heart will react.
This lighthearted relationship drama stars a sensitive male who loves his wife so much that everyone knows it. Dave's need not to hurt the already battered Izzy actually leads to mistrust and doubt as his good intentions towards his spouse and his newly discovered teenage child backfires until the ladies come to the rescue. Mike Gayle furbishes a fine tale starring characters readers will cherish especially fumbling nurturing and loving Dave.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner