Tuesday, September 11, 2018
"My Not So Perfect Life" by Sophie Kinsella
Everywhere Katie Brenner looks, someone else is living the life she longs for, particularly her boss, Demeter Farlowe. Demeter is brilliant and creative, lives with her perfect family in a posh townhouse, and wears the coolest clothes. Katie’s life, meanwhile, is a daily struggle—from her dismal rental to her oddball flatmates to the tense office politics she’s trying to negotiate. No wonder Katie takes refuge in not-quite-true Instagram posts, especially as she's desperate to make her dad proud.
Then, just as she’s finding her feet—not to mention a possible new romance—the worst happens. Demeter fires Katie. Shattered but determined to stay positive, Katie retreats to her family’s farm in Somerset to help them set up a vacation business. London has never seemed so far away—until Demeter unexpectedly turns up as a guest. Secrets are spilled and relationships rejiggered, and as the stakes for Katie’s future get higher, she must question her own assumptions about what makes for a truly meaningful life.
Katie, er, Cat is trying desperately to make it in London. She tries to present her life as beautiful and perfect, but really she's not that happy. Her job isn't that great and while her roommates aren't bad, neither one of them is really her friend and one of them just brought home boxes and boxes of whey so now even home is a little weird. She fills her Instagram with photos that show off the life she wishes she was living and hides her problems from the world and her family. She has the biggest problems with her boss, Demeter. Demeter is very demanding, but also very scatter brained. It makes life difficult for everyone in the office. When Katie goes home for a visit, she helps her dad and stepmom get the ball rolling to turn their farm into a vacation destination for "glampers." When Katie loses her job, she throws herself into the family business while she looks for another job. But everything changes when Demeter and her family show up. Katie can't bear to face Demeter...or can she?
I've pretty much decided that Sophie Kinsella can do no wrong when it comes to writing the kind of books that I love to read. While I didn't feel the My Not So Perfect Life was her strongest book, it was a fun read. As usual, Kinsella has written a character that ends up getting herself in over her head and craziness ensues as she tries to straighten things out (think I Love Lucy, but British). Like her other characters, it is easy to relate to Katie. Katie has a lot of insecurities but tries to pretend that she doesn't. She gives the impression that she has her life under control when in reality, things are often spiraling. Over the course of the novel, she comes to find out that she isn't the only one who puts up a false front and doesn't have complete control. I don't think I know a single person who is completely in control of the direction their life is going, and yet well try to make it look like we do.
There is a certain formula in Kinsella's books. The character is going to be in some sort of trouble, she's going to do something ridiculous to solve the problem and at the end of the novel, everything will end nicely and well resolved (and often she will find love along the way, though not always). For me, there is a level of comfort in this. I know that I'm not going to have to put a lot of thought into the novel and it's like an ice cream sundae for my brain- fun and totally enjoyable (and without the calories). I know that I am just about guaranteed to have a good experience reading one of her books. If you like books with a lot of comedy and a little bit of romance, then I highly recommend that you give her books a try.