boldtype
Mil Millington   Things My Girlfriend And I Have Argued About  
Mil Millington  
Read an Interview with Mil Millington

Read an Excerpt from Things My Girlfriend And I Have Argued About

The Millington Questionnaire

 

One day, I'll learn to keep my mouth shut. BUT NOT TODAY, EH, KELLEY?
--Mil Millington

Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy and girl have two sons. Boy and girl argue. And argue. And argue. Boy starts web site about his arguments with girl. Boy becomes a cult figure. Boy gets a book deal. Boy gets a newspaper column. Boy publishes a novel. Boy sells the movie rights. Girl shrugs and yells at boy for ruining a towel with hair dye.

You know, that old story.

Once upon a time, Mil Millington was an IT manager at a university in the West Midlands of England. He lived with his longtime German-born girlfriend, Margret, and their two sons. It was a relatively peaceful, anonymous existence, punctuated by the comic rows the "text-book Only Child" Millington would have with "violent psychopath" Margret. While learning to build web sites, Millington created a simple page and posted it on the internet. The subject? His near-daily debates with Margret: how to cut kiwi, who should carry tampons, how many is too many plants, when to wipe up gravy, whether he should look like Robin Williams or not.

Flash forward a few years.

Through steady word-of-mouth, "Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About" had acquired an impressive cult following. The Mail on Sunday plagiarized it in an article, for which Millington received £1,600 in damages. Two major British publishing houses offered him a book deal; the Guardian recruited him to write a newspaper column. His novel, Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About, inspired by the eponymous site, appeared in Great Britain last fall to overwhelming critical and commercial success; the Guardian selected him as one of the Best First Novelists of 2002 and he sold the film rights to Working Title Productions.

The novel tells the story of Pel Dalton, an IT manager whose life abruptly jumps the quiet track after the sudden disappearance of his supervisor, TSR. Forced to assume TSR's duties, Pel finds himself mired first in red tape and bureaucracy, then in an intrigue of stolen money and the Chinese Mafia. At home, he contends with his formidable German girlfriend, Ursula Krötenjäger, with whom he consistently ends up on the losing end in spats about their house, their children, semantics, chores, sex, England versus Germany, batteries, and so on. As his work life spins out of control, Pel's verbal sparring with Ursula provides a paradoxical calm in the eye of the storm; for though they argue, their relationship remains a fixture amid the increasingly farcical anarchy of his life. Uproarious yet touching, Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About strikes a blow for the modern relationship comedy, providing a sharp, clever alternative to much of the popular chick/dude lit in the marketplace. Yet Millington's literary debut is not just an urban romance for the twenty-first century; it is also an offbeat mixture of quirky thriller, office satire, and technological gags.

In this issue of Bold Type, Mil Millington talks about his real name, corrects the timeline of his success, discusses comedy and truth, explains how to pronounce Jonathan correctly, and offers an excerpt from his hilarious first novel, Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About. In addition, he has a bash at the Millington Questionnaire, a list of questions culled from the book that puts Vanity Fair's Proust Questionnaire to shame.

Kelley Kawano
Bold Type

Bold Type
Bold Type
     
 
  Photo credit: Mil Millington

Send us comments