Sophie Kinsella's must read for the summer
My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
"I think I've finally worked out how to feel good about life. Every time you see someone's bright-and-shiny, remember: They have their own crappy truths too. Of course they do. And every time you see your own crappy truth and feel despair...remember: Everyone's got a bright-and-shiny, even if it's hard to find sometimes."
My Not So Perfect Life is a great summer read or weekend read. It's light and fun but filled with powerful messages that resonate with every woman.
Katie Brenner, a.k.a. Cat, is trying to live her dream life in London. She works in promotion at a top-notch firm in London and is trying to make it work. London, she quickly learns, is a far cry from her rural life, however, and things start to fall apart. When her very condescending, mean girl boss Demeter fires her, Katie's life falls to pieces and she must go back to the life she left behind. Through the course of the novel, however, Katie learns she's not the only one living a not so perfect life.
I love this book because I feel like we've all been Katie at some point. We've tried to climb the ladder, reach for the glam life we see in movies. We've all wanted to chase after dreams of luxury and success. We've also probably tried to be something or someone we're not because of where it could take us. Most of all, like Katie, we've all fallen on our faces at some poitn.
Katie is very easy to like. She's not perfect, even though she tries so hard. She reminds me a little bit of Annie from Bridesmaids who is never quite getting what she wants in life and who is often in the shadow of more powerful women. She's very easy to relate to, and her sense of humor makes her sometimes miserable life feel not so miserable. My favorite scene is where she can't afford a cafe and has to run out to eat her packed sandwich, only to be mistaken as a homeless woman due to her less-than-London coat. Kinsella does a great job at including unique, funny scenes that lighten the mood, despite the fact Katie's down on her luck.
I also love this book because it's about something we all do: Judging. It shows that it's not just the "mean girls" who do the judging. Katie quickly learns how quick she was to judge others, including Demeter, and comes to find everyone has another story. Like Katie, by the end of the novel, we see Demeter in a very different light. It's easy to hate her and make her into a villain in the beginning, but by the end, we realize we are guilty of the very things we fault her for.
Kinsella also did a great job with details in this book. Katie's family starts a glamping business, and Kinsella leaves no detail unattended. I actually felt myself wanting to go see the glamping site because of the great details, down to the handmade soaps with monograms. Kinsella paints a wonderful picture of both London and the rural life, and helps you see the contrast Katie is facing.
Love takes a backseat in this book, and I liked that. Although it is a part of the story, it's not the focal point. Katie's focus is on her career, on her dreams, and on friendship/loyalty. I thought it was refreshing to see these themes at play in a book targeted at women.
Overall, this book is a refreshing read many will relate to. Kinsella steps out of the romantic comedy/chick lit box slightly to offer unique storyline, characters, and plot. I would say this is a must-read for your summer!
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