My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
Published by Bantam Press on February 7, 2017 (expected)
Genre(s): fiction, chick-lit, contemporary
Format & Pages: e-book arc, 448
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Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.
Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers.
But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?
Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business.
Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems.
And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway?
This is not my first Sophie Kinsella book. I own and have read Can You Keep a Secret? and Confessions of a Shopaholic some years back, and enjoyed them both but never seemed quite into rereading them, which for me, would put them at a rating of 3 out of 5. While I generally find her books fun and enjoyable, My Not So Perfect Life spoke to me on more levels than any of her previous novels.
For starters, I totally understood and empathized with the main character, Katie. I’ve been her, at some point in my life. Upon finishing the first chapter, I was so able to put myself in her shoes that I forgot her name! And seeing her growth through the events of this story was heartwarming, even through the awkward moments. The other characters felt real, complex, and well rounded as well, and I enjoyed getting to know them all. There is some romance in this story, but the focus was more on family and friendship, which I loved.
Along with the interesting cast of characters, the tone Sophie Kinsella used in this book was spot on. It felt like listening to a friend tell a story. Maybe it has something to do with the first person present narrative (which I’m realizing I kind of have a thing for) that typically helps draw me into a story, but I think that’s just one piece of it. The writing is snappy, to the point, and funny, with witty dialogue that actually sounds like how people speak.
Through Katie’s story, Sophie Kinsella explores themes that are current to our society. What is it that makes a perfect life? Is it a bright-and-shiny Instagram feed? Why do we feel the need to project a story that is not what we are actually going through? What if by focusing on those bright-and-shiny things that others seem to have, we miss the unperfect messiness that is our life right in front of us? How do we live in the moment rather than wish for a future of what others seem to have?
Ultimately, My Not So Perfect Life was a thoughtful and entertaining read. Definitely recommended, especially for chick-lit lovers!
*Thanks to the publisher for providing an arc of this edition via NetGalley.