My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
Publisher: Bantam Press
Publishing Date: 9th February 2016
Source: Received from the publisher in return for an honest review!
Number of pages: 400
Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction
Cat Brenner is living the dream – she has a flat in London, a job in creative branding, and her Instagram feed is full of all the amazing things London has to offer: delicious food and beautiful sights and lots of fun. Ok, so the crappy truth is that she rents a tiny room in Catford with no space for a wardrobe, spends most of her days engaged in tedious admin on the other side of the city, and posts photos of food she could never ever afford to eat. But it’s all just about worth it.
Until her bright and shiny life comes crashing down: her demanding boss Demeter gives her sack, and with no means to live in London any more, Cat has to move home to Somerset. Now she’s plain old Katie Brenner again, helping out her dad and her stepmum as they attempt to launch a glamping business on their farm. (They think she’s on sabbatical from her job, and she can’t quite bear to tell them the truth…)
With Katie’s creative branding experience, the glamping is soon a big success. So much so that Demeter and her family book in on holiday – and Katie sees her chance to get revenge on the woman who ruined her dream. So long as Demeter doesn’t see beyond her disguise and give the game away to her parents, of course.
It’s time to see who’s the boss…
Ah, the new Sophie Kinsella’s stand – alone novel! With absolutely brilliant title and incredibly promising synopsis – yes, I fell in love with the main character already after reading the blurb. I truly adored this book, guys, and with it Sophie Kinsella has proved that her place as the Queen of chick – lit is really not in danger – but she’s also shown that she can write characters that feel more mature and developed without losing their trademarked sense of humour. So really, this book was the best example of Sophie Kinsella’s brilliant writing, effortless story – telling and wittiness. It was funny, in this typical Kinsella’s style that is inimitable, the humour comes so natural to this author. A great romantic comedy, just what I expected from this author, and it is just great to know that when you reach for Sophie Kinsella’s book you know what you can expect and you get this delivered.
“My Not So Perfect Life” was really funny, fresh and uplifting and so up – to – date with all its references and also with it showing two versions of everything. While we think that our friends or other people may live the perfect life, much better than ours, those people can think exactly the same about us – and it is the same with Katie. She thought her boss’ Demeter’s life is perfect – even though Demeter herself seemed to be forgetful, flaky and running the office with an iron fist – but still, she was in awe of her. Things turn out to be a little bit different when Demeter comes glamping with her family – is her life truly as wonderful as Katie thinks?
The main character was brilliant, period. Katie is such a typical Kinsella’s character – young, with overactive imagination, with big ideas that not always are possible to be realised, not always telling the truth and yet she was likeable and realistic. A lovely girl and I much preferred the Katie version to the Cat one – Katie was much funnier and not so uptight and looked much better with her wild, curly hair, even with the blue version of them, and she has a Somerset accent, while Cat is the London – “better” – version of Katie, with straight hair and glasses that she doesn’t need. I really loved Katie and her spirit when after losing her job and initial grieving period she found a courage to do something totally different. She was creative and had a great sense of humour and really I wanted to applaud her when reading about her crazy ideas of revenge – they were brilliant, like a breath of fresh air! What I also so adored in this character was the fact that she was so very honest with the readers about her life – she might have kept some secrets from her friends and family but we were able to get to know every aspect of her (not so) perfect life. It was in fact a great author’s move as we really got to know Katie, got to understand why she was feeling like this and what was it that made her tick like this.
And of course all the other characters – brilliantly written, well drawn, thoroughly developed with all their ups and downs, all the flaws and problems but also sounding incredibly realistic – I mean, who of us has never lied about their lives, hm?
The setting of this story couldn’t be better and more different, as we are taken from London to a Somerset farm. Sophie Kinsella has brilliantly captured the difference between those places and when she was writing about commuting in London I had a feeling that I am on this train, squeezed between thousands of people, and when she was writing about the farm I had no problems to visualize this gorgeous place and right now there is nothing more that I want than spent my holidays glamping with Farmer Mick. And those two different places also perfectly symbolized Katie’s life.
As usual, there was a romance aspect in this story and it was great. It was just the right amount of romance, and it felt so genuine, guys – not too forced, not too pushed, a little awkward, with characters’ jumping to conclusions, but also not at all predictable and it could go many ways. It wasn’t overdone, it didn’t monopolise the story – simply, there was just the right amount of love in the air.
I really appreciated the little “mystery” that the author embroiled into the plot, even though I really quickly guessed who and why was it. But it made the story even more hooking, to be honest. I also adored Kate’s relationship with her father and her step – mother Biddy! Those two were so great and oh my word, they tried so much when it came to London and Katie, and it just showed how much they loved this girl. Katie’s father Mick was hilarious with his business’ ideas. And the writing was warm, inviting and incredibly vivid.
But the story was of course not as straight – forward as we at first can think! It changes tracks and offers us many twists and turns and Katie often discovers that things are not as simple as they at first appear. And I loved those changes! They took the book to a totally different level, made the story unpredictable and – to my delight – hilarious, and reading about the chaos Katie left behind, about the revenge made me laugh so much. The way the author started to show us the other side to the story was done perfectly and it was a real, great surprise to see all those twists.
“My Not So perfect Life” was a great story about finding what you really want to do with your life, about finding yourself, finding your identity, becoming an adult, taking responsibility, about communication and appearances, teaching us a lesson that it doesn’t always look like it really is and that not always other people have better lives. It was finally a book with difference, which made reading this little bit more delightful – while I do love some good recipes and descriptions of the food there was nothing of this sort in this story and guys, believe me, it made such a big difference, and I enjoyed this fact so, so much! It was relaxing, easy read – maybe a little more serious in tone in comparison to the other Kinsella’s books but still full of her trademark humour and lovely characters that we root for. Highly recommended!