Liam Livings – Wrong Room, Right Guy
Simon’s the wrong man in the wrong place; trying to teach English to kids who couldn’t care less, he’d really rather be a writer – but it’s only when his best friend bullies him into it that he takes the plunge and joins his local creative writing group. Even then things don’t quite work out the way he planned; blundering into the wrong room at the Village Hall he encounters a group of recovering cocaine addicts and he wants to know more … which is the start, for Simon, of a double life and a whole new secret identity, not to mention an intriguing relationship …
This is one of those tougher reviews to write because how I felt at the beginning of the book versus how I felt at the end is completely different. I struggled with the first half of the book and Simon’s character and his oblivious nature, but in the end I did like him and found myself rooting for him.
Simon is an English teacher and is struggling with his job, the kids he teaches have no desire to learn or read and it frustrates him. Simon is looking for a way to be creative but neither his students nor the school works for has any interest in his creativity. He knows he wants to write but struggles with inspiration for that too, so at the advice of a friend he goes to check out a monthly writer’s group. Only he first wanders in the wrong room, it’s a Cocaine Anonymous group. He immediately notices the men in the room, a few even catch his attention. Eventually he finds the correct room and while trying to figure out how to get story ideas he comes up with a plan to join the Cocaine Anonymous group and use their stories to inspire his book characters. But Simon meets Darren, a recovering cocaine addict and he’s immediately drawn to him.
This is where I started having issues, Simon’s behavior thinking it was completely acceptable to be a part of that group and make up his own stories. I did struggle with this. He didn’t see anything wrong with it or question whether it was right. As Simon and Darren develop their friendship I felt for Darren knowing what was going to happen eventually. There were many times I felt Team Darren in this story and wanted Simon to really understand what he was doing.
Of course, as their friendship grows and real feelings emerge it’s time for Simon to come clean, and again had some struggles with that moment. But Simon does it and of course it hurts Darren, deeply. Things turned around a bit for me here, Simon really feels the impact of what he’s done and even seems to understand that it won’t be an easy fix, if there is one.
So, by the time I got to the end of this story I was rooting for Darren and Simon, for the understanding and learning and love to be there, and it was! I commend Liam Livings for writing a story that wasn’t 100% fall in love with, but one that actually made me think. There were real life mistakes in this story and struggles for both characters. Yes, there were moments I didn’t like, but it made the story real and more touching. I was happy in the end and had a smile on my face! I’m definitely looking forward to reading more from Liam Livings!
Liam Livings lives where east London ends and becomes Essex. He shares his house with his boyfriend and cat. He enjoys baking, cooking, classic cars and socialising with friends. He escapes from real life with a guilty pleasure book, cries at a sad, funny and camp film – and he’s been known to watch an awful lot of Gilmore Girls in the name of writing ‘research’.
One evening, flicking through the channels, he stumbled across the film, Saving Private Ryan, and it took twenty minutes of not seeing Goldie Hawn in an army uniform, before he realised it wasn’t actually the film, Private Benjamin.
He has written since he was a teenager, started writing with the hope of publication in 2011. His writing focuses on friendships, British humour, romance with plenty of sparkle.
When he’s not writing fiction he runs a manuscript appraisal service, provides marketing support to authors & publishers and ghostwrites other people’s books.