Tuesday, January 17, 2017

My (not so) Perfect Life

Title:  My (not so) Perfect Life
Author:  Sophie Kinsella
Publication Information:  The Dial Press. 2017. 448 pages.
ISBN:  081299826X / 978-0812998269

Book Source:  I received this book through the Penguin First to Read program free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "First:  It could be worse."

Favorite Quote:  "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 and think, Is this my life, remember:  It's not. Everyone's got a bright-and-shiny, even if it's hard to find sometimes."

I remember reading social media advice saying, "Don't compare your actual life to someone else's highlight reel." That statement is essentially the advice coming from Sophie Kinsella's My (not so) Perfect Life. Work drama. Family drama. Friendship. Self-discovery. And, of course, a love story. This book has a little bit of all the predictable elements of a sweet chick-lit story.

Katie Brenner is our heroine who has transformed herself into Cat Brenner somewhere between her farm upbringing and the London city life she craves. She works for an advertising agency with Demeter Farlowe as her boss. From Katie's perspective, Demeter has the charmed life - looks, husband, children, successful career, and the opportunity to be absolutely horrendous boss. Think the paragon from The Devil Wears Prada, and you have an image of how Demeter is perceived. Anyone subjected to her tirades is referred to as having been demetered.

Katie seems to have the life of the have-nots, always falling short of what she believes is everyone's perfect life. Her life is completely no-so-perfect. Her father doesn't understand her London life and would like to have her home no the farm. She feels he disapproves of her life choices. She lives in a tiny shared apartment in a room so small that her closet is a hammock hung above her bed. Her commute is a battle through the public transportation system everyday. Katie is trying hard to be the person she thinks she needs to be to have the perfect London life, but the persona of "Cat" doesn't quite fit comfortably.

Also part of this picture are Katie's co-workers who share her angst about Demeter. Then, there's Alex, who is Demeter's friend and a principal in the advertising agency. In other words, he is Katie's bosses' boss. He is handsome, eligible, and, of course, known for the broken hearts he leaves around the world.

Circumstances aka misunderstandings aka drama lands Katie out of a job and back on the farm in Somerset with her father and stepmother. Circumstances change again, and a new venture begins, giving Katie a chance to shine. Ever heard of glamping - camping with all the amenities? Picture yurts, luxury bedding, and enough farm-like activities to make you feel like you are living the country life. All without having to give up any of the comforts of a lovely hotel.

Katie meets Demeter, Alex, and her co-workers again under different circumstances, and predictably learns that not all is at it had first appeared. This leads to more adventures and some hilarious antics. Let's just say payback in in order for insults suffered in all directions.

This book checks all the boxes of an enjoyable light read. It gives me what I expect. The book also leaves a message about being true to yourself and not believing everything you read on social media. (I know! Shocking, right? Not!) A predictable story, lots of laughs, a little romance, and the beautiful English countryside make this book a lovely escape from daily life.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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