“MY (NOT SO) PERFECT LIFE,” BY SOPHIE KINSELLA
PUBLICATION: THE DIAL PRESS; FEBRUARY 7, 2017
Synopsis: 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.
Due for release February 7th is the new novel from Sophie Kinsella, “My (Not So) Perfect Life.” This is the story of a young woman, Katie, who is trying to build a design career and make it on her own in London. Katie grew up on a farm with her Dad but has always felt the pull to live in London and be a part of city life. She embellishes her life in London to friends and tries to adjust to being the new girl at the firm she is working for. Just as she is starting to form some friendships and meets one of the handsome partners, Alex – Katie gets fired by her hateful, scatter-brained boss, Demeter. Katie returns home to help her Dad and Step Mom start up a new glamping business on their farm, but says she is on a sabbatical, rather than tell them she was fired. Later, when Demeter and her family show up as guests, Katie has to face her lies and misconceptions about people.
I honestly struggled with the first 20-30 pages of this novel. I felt like I had read this story a 1000 times, another young woman in the U.K., dissatisfied with her life, no money, crappy roommates, etc. I’m glad I stuck with it, however, because it ended up being pleasantly full of cringe-worthy, embarrassing moments, sweet moments, and huge moments of clarity. Katie did have several valid frustrations in her life, but she also had incorrect perceptions of others, causing her to exaggerate her own hardships in her mind. Katie’s character goes through a great deal of change and growth throughout the novel, becoming a much more mature and realistic version of the girl we meet at the beginning of the story.
The theme in this novel is one that I so wish girls could learn at a younger age – everything is not as it appears. Katie thinks all of these women and co-workers have these perfect lives and tries to re-invent herself with new hair, hiding her accent, and going by “Cat” instead of Katie, all in attempts to lead the perfect lives that she thinks she sees. Fortunately, as the novel progresses, Katie learns that just because people behave in one way or do one thing, doesn’t mean this or that. Katie learns how much she misjudged Demeter, and also learns how incorrect her assumptions and perceptions of her parents and of Alex were.
“My (Not So) Perfect Life” is a wonderful novel with young women that are chick lit fans and looking for a light and easy read. I did enjoy this novel and found myself laughing several times, however, it lacks that certain something making it unique amongst a sea of other chick lit novels. I love and admire Sophie Kinsella’s dialogue style, especially Katie’s inner-dialog, that flowed so naturally throughout the novel. Katie’s quirky and fabulous sense of humor made her very likable and someone you could relate to as if she were one of your own friends. This was a fun book, was well written and had interesting and developed characters, but there just isn’t anything about it that “wowed me” and repeatedly reminded me of Bridget Jones or countless other “single, young, struggling, career women” stories.
*Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Pre-Order “My (Not So) Perfect Life” on Amazon.
Learn more about Sophie Kinsella by visiting her web page.