It’s official: The Man I Think I Know is your ultimate bedtime read

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Susan Devaney
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Join us (and The Zoe Ball Book Club) as we tackle the 10 best books of summer 2018…

Are you on the hunt for a great bedtime read to switch off and unwind with? Well, look no further, as Stylist has teamed up with The Zoe Ball Book Club (part of the Sunday edition of her weekend show Zoe Ball on Saturday and Zoe Ball on Sunday) in a bid to track down the best books of summer 2018.

Speaking about the project, Ball says: “I adore reading so I’m beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to bring a book club back to TV. I’m so excited to read all the brilliant titles on our list, and can’t wait to chat about each and every one of them with my wonderful guests and hear what viewers across the country think too – we’ll have a wide range of books that should hopefully encourage everyone to try something new! Thanks to our esteemed panel we can be sure they are splendid reads.”

The reading picks, chosen by Amanda Ross, the guru behind the original Richard & Judy Book Club, and a team of crack book-experts, are seriously diverse – and the next one on the list is a great read that delves into male friendship.

Penned by Mike Gayle, The Man I Think I Know, takes a closer look at how friendship will pull you through unfulfilled dreams and hard to escape societal expectations.

Here’s what Stylist’s digital writer, Susan Devaney, had to say about it: 

“Rarely do you hear men talking about the power and importance of their friendships with male friends, which is exactly why Gayle’s novel, The Man I Think I Know, is so moving. It provides an insight into the power of love found in friendship.

“Written as a dual first-person narrative, the characters of James and Danny lead us through their lives, lives, which they thought, would turn out a lot differently. Having both attended King’s Scivener school for boys in Warwich as young men, the prestigious private school had pepped them for greatness. Danny Allen ends up on the dole; James DeWitt suffers a life-altering brain injury after an assault. But, both find each other once again.

Devaney continues: “Heart-wrenching, uplifting and a tear-jerker, the book portrays the raw realities of life and humanity. But best of all, the book erodes the traditional roles of masculinity – power, competition and success – leaving love at the forefront. You’ll be rooting for both men from start to finish.”

Francesca Brown adds: “Mike Gayle is one of those writers who it’s easy to underrate; he creates books that look effortless and as anyone who’s ever tried to write the first line of a best-selling novel knows: easy it ain’t.

The Man I Think I Know is the story of two talented boys from a prestigious private school who find life doesn’t go as planned… Danny Allen was on course to cure cancer but when we meet him aged 36, he’s depressed, sponging off an increasingly fed up girlfriend and unable to hold down a job. Financially successful James de Witt was on course to become an MP when a random act of violence leaves him with a debilitating brain injury. Meeting in a care home – Danny taking a short-lived job, James giving respite to his elderly parents – the pair find themselves bonding and a close friendship taking over both their lives.

“What’s truly wonderful about this book is Gayle’s exploration of our brains: James struggles with day-to-day basic tasks but displays an optimistic resilience to conquer all the things he’s told he’s not capable of. Meanwhile, Danny has all the talents and abilities a person can be given but is in the grip of a paralysing depression that leaves him floundering and alone. Gayle captures the brutality of what life can do to people and the scars (both mental and physical) it can leave but that creating love and happiness in the smallest of ways can contribute to finding peace.”

The Zoe Ball Book Club, in association with Specsavers, from 17 June on Zoe Ball on Sunday for 10 weeks.

Zoe Ball on Saturday and Zoe Ball on Sunday (ZBoS) is on ITV at 8.30am every weekend, or catch-up on ITV Player.

Images: Courtesy of publisher