Published July 11, 2017, by The Dial Press (Random House)
Genre: Women’s Fiction / Humor
Page Count: 448 pages
I’m owning my embarrassment. I’m not hiding or playing games. I lift my chin, high and resolute. ‘Here I am: Katie Brenner, Embarrassed. There are worse things to be.’
If you’re on Instagram, you’ve seen them – the people with the perfect lives. They’re always eating at the best restaurants, taking perfectly filtered pics of the most delicious-looking food, while wearing the most en trende outfits.
Their hair is styled perfectly. Their children are gorgeous. Their partners are gorgeous. Their jobs are high-paying and meaningful. In short, they are The Perfect Life People.
I’ve seen them, heck, I follow them. I’ve envied their cars, their homes, even their also-perfect friends. But I also realized that perfection is a myth and there’s always other things that a carefully cropped and filtered picture doesn’t show.
That’s the theme of this Sophie Kinsella novel: Getting past the Insta-mask and seeing people (and ourselves) for who they/we really are.
Katie Brenner has always wanted to live and work in London. She dropped her Somerset accent and exchanged her naturally curly hair for a sleek hairdo with bangs when she got her junior research assistant position at respectable Cooper Clemmow in London. She also changed her nickname to “Cat” and convinced her friends and family that she was living the high life through upbeat phone calls and a carefully constructed Instagram page. But life in London wasn’t quite as rosy as she was making it out to be.
Kinsella drops us into Katie’s life as she’s struggling to find her place in her dream city, a new job, and within a group that seems – to her – to have everything going for them. Especially Katie’s boss Demeter. We watch as Katie envies and emulates Demeter even as she judges her harshly for being disconnected, scattered, and insensitive.
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.
A prominent theme in the book is to never judge a book by its cover. As the story progresses through Katie’s gained footholds and fumbles, we see how her revelations of this theme create a more mature young adult. But being a Kinsella character, we still also see some truly LOL self-inflicted foibles and hijinks.
My (not so) Perfect LIfe was an enjoyable quick read that reminded me that life is what you make it, and how you present yourself to the world – whether it’s fact or fiction – could have a big impact on how you ultimately view yourself.
Four happy, Somerset-accented stars for this feel-good story of revelation, family, and friendship that makes me feel so much better about posting unfiltered pics on my Instagram feed!
About the Author
Sophie Kinsella first hit the UK bestseller lists in September 2000 with her first novel in the Shopaholic series – The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic (also published as Confessions of a Shopaholic). The book’s heroine, Becky Bloomwood – a fun and feisty financial journalist who loves shopping but is hopeless with money – captured the hearts of readers worldwide. Becky has since featured in seven further bestselling books.