I’ve been a fan of Sophie Kinsella since my German Exchange partner bought me Remember Me? As a going away gift. I was 14, and it was a brilliant reader. Straight after that I moved on to the Undomestic Goddess (the book that gave me unrealistic expectations of living in London and working in the city) and then the Shopaholic series.
What I love about Kinsella’s characters is they’re all flawed. Becky Bloomwood (Shopaholic) is not only catastrophically chaotic with money (I can identify), but she also has this awful habit of sticking her head in the sand and getting things disastrously wrong. Sam Sweeting (Undomestic Goddess) seemingly makes the mistake that will ruin her career and runs away instead of fixing it. It wasn’t until I re-read Undomestic Goddess and had a mild panic attack that I realised how easy that is to do in a job. And as for Lexi Smart (Remember Me), she’s having an affair, and has lost her memories of the last two years after a car accident. All of these characters have their issues and flaws and parts of them that make them so relatable. OK, maybe not the losing-your-memory-in-a-car-accident bit, but the rest…
In My Not So Perfect Life Katie Brenner is a wannabe hotshot graphic designer, working for one of the most prestigious in her industry, who seems to have no time for anyone or anything. Poor Katie even ends up dying her boss’ hair to try and get some much needed mentor alone time. In the background, Katie is desperately trying to make a houseshare in the arse-end of London work, despite disliking her housemates and having no money to do it with.
Let’s be honest, Katie is all of us starting out in London. I remember my own houseshares, the struggling to do anything but pay rent, and the feeling a little bit alone in what is meant to be one of the best cities in the world.
When it all goes tits up, Katie ends up back home on her dad’s farm, helping with his newly launched Glamping business, until the opportunity of a lifetime turns up, and she has the chance to make the biggest impression of her life. With a little bit of mayhem (it wouldn’t be a Kinsella book without it really, would it?) Katie gets exactly to where she needs to be.
My only negative point would be the romance. It was doing really well as a story of a girl and her career, without needing to throw in a rather rushed romantic aspect. With a little more time it could have been great, but I actually thought it worked better as a story of female empowerment, solidarity and success.
Kinsella’s latest is not just relatable, but heartwarming, and proof that just one change in circumstance can turn everything for the best.
Definitely would recommend for anyone taking a late holiday read!