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Book Review: My (not so) Perfect Life

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
Genre: romance, chick lit
Publisher: The Dial Press
Date: February 7, 2017

Katie Brenner has a plan for her life and it most certainly does not include the farm where she grew up. In fact, she has completely transformed herself in order to fit into a London world. New hair, new style and even a new name. (Cat is so much cooler than Katie isn’t it?) And when she overhears some women in the bathroom making fun of her accent, she works hard to make that go away too.

She’s got the mind for marketing. She picks things up quickly and her ideas are really good. She just needs to learn how to break out and make a name for herself like her boss Demeter Farlowe did. Demeter has made her way to the top of the food chain in her company and she’s got the perfect life. She runs an entire division. She works with the top tier of clients. She always looks impeccable. Heck, the house she lives in has even been featured in magazine layouts! Demeter has it all. Except – well, being nice. Around the office she seems really scattered and she takes advantage of other people’s ideas.

Katie isn’t having an easy time of it in London. She barely makes enough money to keep her head above water – but she is determined. She’s also determined to fit in with the other girls around the office, but even that isn’t working out as she’d hoped.

Through a series of misadventures (what do you expect from the creator of the Shopaholic series?) Katie ends up being fired and living back home with her step-mother and father on the farm. She doesn’t want to look like a failure, so she doesn’t tell them she lost her job. So she tells her family that she is on a paid leave from work while she helps them turn the farm into a glamping (glamorous camping) paradise.  She’s doing a great job at getting the business up and running and her marketing ideas have shot the buzz and publicity for the farm to the top of the charts. While she’s doing this, she juggles resumes, applications and job interviews so she can get back to her ‘real’ life dreams – London!

Just when it seems she has a relative handle on things, who books a week-long retreat at her parent’s camp? Demeter Farlowe and her family. Katie does not want to be recognized, so she disguises herself and decides that she’s going to exact revenge on her boss. During this plan though, she realizes that Demeter’s life is not what it appeared. In fact, everything she thought about Demeter was absolutely wrong.

I loved this story. To be fair, Sophie Kinsella is one of my favorites. I always enjoy getting into the heads of her characters and experiencing the glitz and glamor, but with that touch of reality that keeps it grounded. Katie is one of those fabulous characters that I would happily continue to follow through even more adventures.

Though sometimes Katie’s misadventures are totally off the wall, there are still enough ‘real’ moments to make me able to see it actually happening. After all, who hasn’t had some moment in their lives that is just insane? We all do and I adore watching how Kinsella’s characters muddle through their messes.

One of the things I loved about this story was the inclusion of social media. I’ve always said that on social media, we’re comparing our behind the scenes to the highlight reels of others. (I work in film. Can you tell?) But it’s really true. People don’t tend to put the messy up there for the world to see. It’s always perfect and looks so good and the rest of us look on thinking we have to live that way.

Kudos to Sophie Kinsella for addressing a big issue in such a fun way!