Title: My Not So Perfect Life
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Published: January 30th 2017
Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Chick Lit
Rating: 3 stars
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?
The new novel by the bestselling author of the famous ‘Shopaholic’ series, Sophie Kinsella, My Not So Perfect Life, was a selected read for my book club. This humorous book focuses on the search for the ‘perfect’ life. It also looks at how in our tech savvy age, we like to project only the ideal moments in our lives on social media, rather than reality. These are just some of the elements that make up Kinsella’s latest novel.
My Not So Perfect Life features protagonist Katie Brenner, a mid twenties research associate, who is making a living at a branding agency in London. Katie is trying to put aside her upbringing in the country and forge her way as a successful career girl in London. However, Katie’s life in the city is not as glamorous as she tries to project to others. The cold reality is that she is undervalued at work, barely able to pay her bills and is going nowhere fast. In stark contrast, Katie’s boss Demeter is all Katie wants to be. Demeter is a woman who exudes confidence, perfection and success. When Demeter finds herself under pressure for the first time in a long time, it is Katie who bears the brunt of Demeter’s wrath. So this once country turned city girl finds herself back in the country, working on her father’s farm. Can Katie ever make a comeback and achieve all she wants – which is the perfect life?
To date, I have only read one other book by popular author Sophie Kinsella. These days I am not a huge fan of chick lit style books, which is the genre Kinsella tends to stick to. However, as this was a book club pick, I was more than happy to put my chick lit reservations aside and give this book a go. The verdict? I found this book a so so read, which you will find out why through my review.
What did I like about this book? Well, I liked the focus on the concept of a perfect life, through the main character in the novel, Katie’s instagram account and her general drive to achieve a so-called ideal life. We do like to project images and thoughts on our social media sites that are positive, rather than imperfect. I have to admit, from time to time, I have been guilty of this! This is a book that definitely made me think about the images I have put through my social media accounts. I enjoyed the main character, Katie’s journey and the lessons she learns along the way in life, love, friendship and career wise.
The romance between Katie and her love interest was sweet, but it didn’t have much depth. There were also some genuinely funny scenes involving the interactions that take place between these two characters. The humour in the novel also comes in the form of Demeter’s trip to the country, but these scenes didn’t work quite as well for me, they seemed a bit contrived in places.
Supporting characters, such as Katie’s dad and step mum provide genuine warmth to this story. I really respected Katie’s step mum and father, their love, protection and overall relationship with Katie was endearing to read. Their scenes together inject the book with some beautiful tender moments. It also frustrated me, as at key points in the novel I just wanted Katie to communicate with her loving parents, rather than keep things from them.
The city versus country setting dichotomy was a good one and worked well in this novel. I really enjoyed the country based scenes and could easily visualise Katie’s family farm. I also like the concept of turning a working farm into a farm stay for city residents to enjoy a slice of the country. I thought it was a great concept that ran well in this novel.
My Not So Perfect Life was a mostly entertaining read. Through the main character Katie, we learn that in striving for the perfect life, we might not get what we bargained for. Rather, the tough lessons we learn along the way makes the ride worth it. My Not So Perfect Life is an entertaining novel, a flirty romance and a book that offers us an insight into the true value of friendship. Whilst I enjoyed aspects of this book club pick, I was not overly taken by it. Nevertheless, I would say this is a novel ideally suited to chick lit fans!
My No So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella was published in January 2017. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
Learn more about the author of My Not So Perfect Life, Sophie Kinsella here.