Usually I prefer to read romantic fiction based on pretty book covers (so much for not judging a book by its cover…)
This one appealed to me mainly because of the story and contemporary feel of young (35 year old) Jenny McLaine, who provides observations of her life as a single woman, mainly through social media to portray the perfect life, all the while dealing with the bland expectations that pop up in life.
Define bland Liz – okay, maybe not wholly bland, but real.
It starts off with a very deep evaluation of an Instagram post of croissants She wants to portray her life on social media as exciting, like her ‘fave’ influencer Suzy Brambles who has followed her.
We learn she has split from her photographer boyfriend Art (how apt), so she is left to deal with paying a mortgage on her own, with the ‘help’ of young, irritable snowflake lodgers.
From my observations, Jenny is depressed, but then again maybe she is just saying it how it is.
Her anecdotes throughout switch up quite frequently, so I found myself getting a tad confused as to where the story was, however I quickly managed to place them through her comical, dry humour and story telling.
It turns out after her split from Art, he has managed to get with Suzy?! Obviously Jenny is not happy with this as we gather from her therapy sessions and difficult relationship with her mother who turns up out of the blue.
When I started to think Jenny was being a bit of a b*tch towards her mum and her friend, she soon becomes aware of this, suggesting her moods may have been spurred by her miscarriage – also resulting in her and Art’s relationship breakdown.
With all this, she deals with the prospect that she may lose her job as a columnist for feminist magazine The Foof where she thrives from the mixed comments on her posts – albeit it negative. It becomes apparent Jenny is obsessed with how her life looks on social media and how she lives it through being online in general – something I think a lot of us are guilty of.
Keeping up? I found it hard to know which way the story would go!
As a result of being so obsessed with her life online, she forgets about her friends, where we see her fall out with Kelly who gives her the truth about how disappointed she is in Jenny and that she doesn’t think she is a good friend: not the best news when you want someone to talk to about your miscarriage, your split, your ex dating your fave influencer, possibly losing your job and your mother setting up a psyche business from her own home…
There are some questionable bits, yet I was chuckling throughout and raced to the end as I couldn’t put the book down, even to the point of realising Suzy keeps her secret daughter off her feed, not just because of privacy, but not to ruin her own image!
A thought-provoking, raw and funny read. I would recommend if you are looking for something easy going and seeking a laugh, where you are likely to find this relatable if you find yourself being a little guilty of scrolling on the ‘gram for a second too long and dealing with mundane life issues of your own.
rating – 5/5 an unexpected read!
genre – comedy, fiction, bildungsroman