Edited by Jessica Adams, Maggie Alderson, Nick Earls, Imogen Edwards-Jones.
HarperCollins, £6.99 stg
'Big Night Out' is the third short story collection from publisher HarperCollins that has been put together in aid of the international charity War Child. It follows on from previous bestsellers 'Girls Night In' and 'Girls Night Out/Boys Night In' and although it is certainly the biggest of the three, it is most definitely not the best.
It boasts such bestselling writers as Candace Bushnell, Nick Hornby, Marian Keyes, Karen Moline and Jessica Adams yet the short stories that feature here are poor efforts by the previous standards of the authors. Having displayed great dramatic flair and comedic writing in her novels thus far, Irish writer Keyes in particular disappoints. In fact, it is the less established or well-known writers involved who have produced the better contributions for 'Big Night Out'.
The book also includes a collection of illustrations, party tips, recipes, song lists and hang-over cures from a host of celebrities including Kate Moss, Jamie Oliver, Boy George, Joan Collins and Jamie Theakston. Although this is an original and interesting idea in principle, and many of these contributions are far more appealing than the short stories they supplement, one feels that it is just a mechanism for padding out the book and adding more fashionable names to the contributors list.
Admittedly, War Child is a charity that deserves to benefit from such a fundraising effort, but your money might be better spent if you just send the full cost of 'Big Night Out' direct to the charity itself. You won't be missing out on much if you don't add this latest anthology to your collection.