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Our Tiny, Useless Hearts - Toni Jordan

Paperback Published: 2nd May 2016
ISBN: 9781925355451
Number Of Pages: 288

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Caroline Baum's Review

Kicking off with a great opening line that sets the tone for high energy fun, this is a jaunty, tightly choreographed suburban rom-com with plenty of classic farcical scenes (men with cushions over their genitals, shimmying up balconies and hiding in bathrooms,) partners both present and former turning up at the most inappropriate moment, and crisply comic dialogue.

Jordan harnesses her emotional intelligence to all the comic moves, to create an immensely likeable jolly romp.


Henry has ended his marriage to Caroline and headed off to Noosa with Mercedes' grade three teacher, Martha.

Caroline, having shredded a wardrobe-full of Henry's suits, has gone after them.

Craig and Lesley have dropped over briefly from next door to catch up on the fallout from Henry and Caroline's all-night row.

And Janice, Caroline's sister, is staying for the weekend to look after the girls because Janice is the sensible one. A microbiologist with a job she loves, a fervent belief in the beauty of the scientific method and a determination to make a solo life after her divorce from Alec.

Then Craig returns through the bedroom window expecting a tryst with Caroline and finds Janice in her bed, Lesley storms in with a jealous heart and a mouthful of threats, Henry, Caroline and Martha arrive back from the airport in separate taxis—and let's not even get started on Brayden the pizza guy.

Janice can cope with all that. But when Alec knocks on the door things suddenly get complicated.

Harnessing the exquisite timing of the great comedies to the narrative power and emotional intelligence for which she is famous, Toni Jordan brings all her wit, wisdom and flair to this brilliant, hilarious novel.

Industry Reviews

`A new Toni Jordan is always a special pleasure and her latest is a wonderful, witty treat of a novel: cutting and clever, and yet so very romantic, as though P. G. Wodehouse had satirised life in the suburbs.' -- Liane Moriarty
`A highly entertaining romp through the complexities of modern relationships...A classic farce in the style of Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, complete with physical comedy, exaggerated situations and a spot of class commentary in the form of suburban satire, Our Tiny Useless Hearts is loads of fun and clever too.' * Books + Publishing *
`Laugh-out-loud funny, yet with real emotion at its core, this is a sexy-smart rom-com about love and marriage...I loved it.' * Australian Women's Weekly *
`Reading in public may garner disapproval due to the inelegant snorting, snickering and laughing out loud which is inevitable...An absolute pleasure to read.' * BookMooch *
`Crisp and clever...Jordan doesn't cheat readers on the romance, either - conjuring a flawless but vividly rendered romantic hero and a love story that feels fresh and sexy.' * Saturday Paper *
`Crafty, clever and comical...Take a little of Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors, mix well with Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, then set characters in one home, say in Carnegie, and you may begin to understand the wit in this delicious classic farce.' * Readings *
`A concoction of robust jokes, observations both profound and pat and a very nice visual humour, Our Tiny, Useless Hearts rips along.' * Age/Sydney Morning Herald *
`A funny, cleverly written story about the ups and downs of relationships...The suburban love triangles channels slapstick lunacy and farce so effectively, you can almost hear The Benny Hill Show theme playing in the background.' * Qantas Magazine *
`An enjoyable romp full of bed-swapping antics, lies and subterfuge...Full of wit and sparkle...In between the hilarious coupling shenanigans the novel is a clever suburban satire and a sly nod to Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.' * Canberra Times *
'That Toni Jordan's new novel manages to be a full-length fiction that simultaneously operates as a hugely enjoyable farce and an emotionally rich domestic drama is a testament to her skills as a writer and the charm of her voice.' * Australian *
'Farce entertains through exaggerated and improbable situations and Jordan has nailed that sentiment in this novel.' * Herald Sun *
'A classic bedroom farce with snappy dialogue and egocentric yet endearing characters...To describe Our Tiny, Useless Hearts as eminently readable is no aspersion; this comedy is perfectly calibrated to encourage glimpses of our own foibles in characters writ suburban-large - behaving badly, seeking forgiveness, and, sometimes, making amends.' * Australian Book Review *
`The action is fast-paced and deliciously witty...14 carat comedy gold.' * Cairns Eye *
`A delicious satire...Farce, wit and repartee ensue in a quick-paced, highly controlled plot...A highly involving and enjoyable read.' * Otago Daily Times *
`A real treat - a witty and original romp through modern - day relationships that feels like the literary equivalent of an Australian TV drama...Our Tiny, Useless Hearts is more than just funny, sharp entertainment. It's also a clever and informed exploration of marriage, love and lust, and a study of the modern family - messy, dysfunctional and tied together with bonds that are, often frustratingly, unbreakable.' * Canberra Weekly *
`A lively romcom full of witty humour and daft characters...Toni Jordan is an astute observer of the absurdity of 21st century life.' * ANZ LitLovers *
`Farcical yet real at the same time, this will have you laughing out loud.' * Big Book Club *
`Marriage is complicated-and sometimes hilarious-in this novel...Jordan's dialogue is quick and witty, her writing is sharp, and the plot is fast-paced. However, the story's heart comes from the way it deals with the serious issues (like infidelity and infertility) that hide underneath the humor. A funny, pleasant look at love, forgiveness, and second chances.' * Kirkus Reviews *

Funny and moving


I picked this up knowing nothing about the author or the book, I just liked the title. I don't normally read rom-coms or chick-lit but this was lovely. Really sharp and deadpan humour which made me laugh out loud more than once. There were some elements which were entirely believable despite erring towards slapstick or farce which is hard to carry off but would translate brilliantly to screen and a serious and moving drama/dilemma at the heart of it. I will definitely be reading more Toni Jordan and will be buying this as a gift for various friends.

Somerset, UK


Comedy-of-morons who've lost their heads and hearts. LOVED!


This is the first Toni Jordan book I've ever read, but after doing so I (must have enjoyed it, back in December?) went out and bought her other novels 'Addition' and 'Fall Girl', and now that I've had a rebooted reading I intend to get stuck into those ASAP too! I won't even try to recount the plot of this book – instead I'll say it's a sort of modern Melbourne suburban take on Wilde's 'The Importance of Being Earnest', except the comedy-of-manners is more a comedy-of-morons who've lost their heads and hearts to utterly foolish infidelities and self-inflicted heartburn. It really is wonderful! Liane Moriarty provides an endorsement quote, calling it "cutting and clever, and yet so very romantic, as though P. G. Wodehouse had satirised life in the suburbs." This is a very appropriate endorsee – because Toni Jordan's novel did remind me of Liane Moriarty's work, minus the seedy underbelly that goes with her explorations of love and betrayal. Jordan takes a much more light-hearted approach, that still manages to cut to the heart of the matter.



An extremnely irritating read couldn't finish


The service and delivery were spot on however after paying delivery I cam across the product in a retail store for half the price wasn't too happy.



Our Tiny, Useless Hearts

3.7 3


Extract from Our Tiny, Useless Hearts

Henry’s squatting on the floor of the dining room. He’s looking even paler than usual and his face is damp and blotchy, a chubby vampire with a fever. He’s doing his best to eyeball his girls. My nieces, Mercedes and Paris.

‘Let me put it this way,’ he says to them. ‘You like bananas, right? Everyone likes bananas.’

Some conferring is required. Paris stretches on her tippy-toes and whispers in Mercedes’ ear.

‘We like mangoes better,’ Mercedes says, after advisement, ‘but only when Mummy cuts them up for us because otherwise our hands get sticky.’

‘Right. No one likes sticky hands. Mangoes. Sure. Well, marriage is like a mango.’ Henry folds his arms and it’s clear he expects this gem to make his case. But these are solemn little people, staring steady and blue, and they’re not smiling.

‘OK,’ he says. ‘It’s like this. Imagine if mangoes were all you got to eat, breakfast lunch and dinner. Even if mangoes were your favourite food, you’d be pretty sick of mangoes after fifteen years, wouldn’t you?’

‘Are biscuits allowed, for little lunch?’ says Paris, through Mercedes.

‘Mangoes or nothing.’

‘Can we have ice cream next to the mango? We like cookies and cream.’

‘Only mangoes. That’s it. Forever. Oh, you’re surrounded by other fruit all right. Everywhere you go, strawberries brush against you and mandarins slink around the office in their tight little skirts, bending over the photocopier to fix paper jams. And the lychees. Don’t get me started on the lychees.’

‘What’s a lychee?’ says Mercedes.‘It doesn’t matter. What I’m trying to say is: can either of you comprehend the kind of discipline it takes to be married for fifteen years?’

‘Not really Daddy,’ Mercedes says. ‘I’ve never been married. I’m seven.’

ISBN: 9781925355451
ISBN-10: 1925355454
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 2nd May 2016
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.1 x 15.4  x 2.1
Weight (kg): 0.38

Toni Jordan

About the Author

Toni was born in Brisbane in 1966. She loved reading and writing at primary school (Seven Hills State School) but by high school (Lourdes Hill College) had become a science nerd. After leaving school, she enrolled in a Bachelor of Science at the University of Queensland, which she completed part time after almost failing due to a preoccupation with chasing boys.

She has worked as a research assistant, molecular biologist, quality control chemist, door-to-door aluminium siding saleswoman, marketing manager, shop assistant and copywriter. In 1996 she moved to Melbourne, and in 2004 quit her job to study professional writing full time at RMIT University. While studying, she began writing her debut novel, Addition.

Addition has been published in Australia, the UK and Holland (as Alles Telt), with publication in Italy, France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Israel, Brazil and North America coming soon.

Toni’s articles have appeared in The Sunday Age, The Sun-Herald and The Monthly, and she also teaches creative writing.

Toni lives in Melbourne with her husband Rob.

To read Toni’s revealing answers to the Booktopia Book Guru’s TEN TERRIFYING QUESTIONS…and to leave a comment -CLICK HERE

Visit Toni Jordan's Booktopia Author Page

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