It’s Been A Pleasure, Noni Blake by Claire Christian
Claire Christian was one of the finalists for our 2018 Readings Young Adult Book Prize for her impressive debut, Beautiful Mess. Now, this talented young writer is back with an entertaining novel for adults that has just as much heart, but considerably more sex.
It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake begins with our titular character agonising over the one-night-stand etiquette of leaving a note as you’re sneaking out or not. It’s been a tough couple of years for Noni: her long-term relationship has disintegrated, her career has stalled, and she’s drowning in grief. A drunken night of soul-searching reminds her of the many what-ifs from her past – missed opportunities, rejected invitations … un-loved lovers – and Noni decides to embark on a (possibly misguided) campaign to tick off some names from her should-have-boned list.
This is a frank and funny novel that is refreshingly, unabashedly, queer and inclusive. Noni is many things: witty, self-deprecating, fat, loving, considerate, and bisexual; and the fact that Christian has managed to include almost every iteration of the LGBTQIA+ spectrum into this delightful book without making it A Book About Being Queer is actually kind of radical. For readers struggling through a quarter-life crisis, a Saturn rising, a breakup, a tough year, It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake is the romantic comedy you want to lose yourself in. As Noni embarks on her life-changing pursuit of pleasure, you’re taken along on a joyous, absurd, and sex-filled ride. But, underneath it all, there is a great depth of feeling.
Ultimately, It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake is a book about growing older, trusting the voice in your head, and learning that the most important love affair isn’t with someone else; it’s the one that you have with yourself.