There’s absolutely so much that I want to say about this book that it’s difficult to know where to even begin to make this review coherent! Let’s start with a quick summary, shall we?
Grace and Natalie’s parents died in their teenage years and Natalie stepped up to the plate by dropping out of her matric year to support Grace and makes sure that she finishes school and gets a tertiary education. The result is that Grace has led quite a sheltered life free from and adventure or drama of any nature.
But then Natalie approaches Grace out of the blue to ask her for a huge favour – for Grace to stand in for her as a Rihanna impersonator at a club in Amsterdam. Kind of harmless right? Just perform about four Rihanna songs a night, dance a little, make bucketloads of cash and get back to South Africa.
No. No, no, no, no, no. From the minute Grace lands in Amsterdam, there’s crisis after crisis, mad adventure after mad adventure, as the true reality of what’s expected of her is revealed and sinks in. All this in between propping up an elaborate story to her fiancé Lucas about why she suddenly had to fly to Amsterdam at such short notice! Eeeeeek!
So Grace lands in Amsterdam and is taken to the commune that she’ll be sharing for the next few months with the other celebrity lookalikes: Paris Hilton (with whom she forms an unlikely friendship with); old school Marilyn Monroe; Katy Perry; Cher (yeah, she’s kinda still relevant, somehow); Britney Spears; Dolly Parton (hehe, yeah, Dolly too!) and a string of Beyonce’s (more of THESE adventures in the book! I’m not one for spoilers!)
Grace must put on her big girl panties and do what she needs to do to help her sister who has sacrificed many things in her own life to make sure that Grace grows up to be the best person that she can be. But Grace is scared and confused and homesick and it is only through a series of horrible nights (that DO get better, I promise) and introspections that she realises a few truths about her life and the direction in which she wants it to go (she may or may not have kissed a girl … AND LIKED IT … may or may not have … Read the book, dammit!)
Adventure is such an integral part of the human experience and Dutch Courage offers a wild adventure into what is unknown for most people. It allows us to follow Grace on her hilarious mishaps, her close calls, her out-of-control moments and the quiet times we all need as human beings to just figure out this thing called life. We’re all rooting for Grace at every turn. Even in the darkest moments, we have a flicker of hope that she’ll come back and give it everything that she’s got! That a girl!
Thank you Paige! Thank you for such a thrill of a book. I loved the off-centre plot (very unexpected!) and the many many outright damn funny one-liners and scenarios that had me putting the book down for a couple of seconds to really howl and let the laughter out (my parents might be sending me off to a mental health facility after this so I blame it all on you Paige! You need to vouch for me that I actually AM sane. Kinda!) Thank you for being a consistently brilliant South African author who is sure to keep us on our toes and keep us lol-ing for a very long ass time to come!
P.S.: I urge you all to follow her blog, A Million Miles from Normal (link here) and to read her blog post about the various covers and titles of Dutch Courage (link here): blog post entitled “1 book, 3 covers, 3 titles”. Find her on Twitter (@paigen), on Instagram (@amillionmilesfromnormal) and on Facebook at Paige Nick. She’s a ball of fun to follow, we promise 🙂