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Book Review: The Man I Think I Know by Mike Gayle

April 25, 2018 2 Comments


Title: The Man I Think I Know
Author: Mike Gayle
Genre: Adult Fiction
Published: 19/4/18
Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐




This post is part of the The Man I Think I Know blog tour – celebrating the release of this BEAUTIFUL book.



Whatever happens to those kids at school who are always being tipped to be stars in adult life?

It’s a question all of us find ourselves asking at some time and Mike Gayle’s powerful, poignant novel answers it with regard to Danny Morgan and James McManus – rivals for top honours in everything throughout their school years in Birmingham.

Whatever their friends and teachers might have expected, neither Danny nor James is currently running the country.

Depressed and unemployed, Danny is facing an ultimatum from his girlfriend Maya: if he doesn’t get out and get a job, she’s leaving.

It was an accident that changed James’s life and now he is looked after affectionately by his parents. But his sister Martha believes that the role of full-time carers is destroying their lives – and infantilising her brother.

She suggests that James should go into a respite home while her parents take a break.

The respite home, as it turns out, where Danny has just got a job.

What is the path that has brought these two people to this unexpected place, and where will it take them next?

This is the story of Danny and James, but also of the families who love them and of the women they love. It is a story of many surprising twists, by turns funny and sad, painful and uplifting, and marks a brilliant new stage in the writing career of one of Britain’s favourite novelists.

Spoiler-Free Review:

The Man I Think I Know is a very special story which follows two main characters, James and Danny. Both characters attended the same boarding school as boys and were both high fliers in their youth, destined for greatness. Now, years on, as young men, the characters both find themselves in situations which they couldn’t have imagined in the past. Without giving spoilers, James’ and Danny’s situations are completely different and yet both hold a complexity and an emotional storyline. As a reader, I found myself immersed in this story and these characters and in Mike Gayle’s writing. The plot was simple, and yet there was not a moment that I was bored during this read, and in fact I read it in one sitting, completely entranced throughout. The characterisation and character development in this story is FLAWLESS, especially in James’ character, where I often felt I was with him and was experiencing his experiences in life. It was quite amazing.

This story revolves around the theme of relationships, between lovers, family and mostly friendship. The Man I Think I Know tells a beautiful story of the friendship between two men who are both in difficult life situations, but find fun, laughter and ease with each other. In fact this focus on a male-male friendship is something so rare in books that I fell in love with the story and I dare you to try not to fall in love with these characters. I absolutely adored the writing, and both main characters.


Overall, I was completely blown away by this story. This was my first Mike Gayle book and I will no doubt be reading a lot more from him in the future! In fact, if his next book is anything like this release I will be hunting it down!


*Buy it now with FREE INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING: http://www.bookdepository.com/?a_aid=ReadingRuby

I received this E-Arc in exchange for an honest review and would like to say thank-you to Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with an advanced-readers-copy of this book. 

*Affiliate link – I make a small profit off of this link




  1. Reply

    Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks

    May 19, 2018

    Spot on – that’s very rare in books. Sounds great! Will have to check it out.

    • Reply


      May 19, 2018

      It really was an unexpectedly amazing read!


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