On Reading Sophie Kinsella’s “My Not So Perfect Life”

“And I know the job market is competitive, and I know everyone finds it hard, but I can’t help thinking: What did I do wrong? Was I crap at the interview? Am I crap, full stop? And if so..what am I going to do? A big black chasm is opening up in my mind. A scary dark hole. What if I can’t find any paying job, ever?” (Sophia Kinsella My Not So Perfect Life, p.183)
I had so many dreams. I used to lie on my bed and study the tube map and imagine becoming one of those fast, confident people I’ve seen on day tripst to the capital. People in a hurry, with goals, aims, broad horizons. I’d imagined getting on a career ladder that could take me anywhere if I worked hard enough. Working on global brands; meeting fascinating people; living life to the max.” (Sophia Kinsella My Not So Perfect Life, p.172)

When I am sick in bed, there are two things that make me feel better — television and books. Last week I was home from work, and because there wasn’t anything in particular I wanted to watch, I read Sophie Kinsella’s new book “My Not So Perfect Life” from start to finish. The book follows the story of Katie, or Cat as she’s known in the London ad agency where she works, as she tries to figure out how to advance in her job and get noticed so she can get to do the kind of work she wants to do. The story is relatable and I thoroughly enjoyed Kinsella’s depiction of surviving a difficult commute, stay with a tight budget, battle dreadful roommates and try to make friends, figure out who you are, and decipher your love life at the same time.

Instead of Kinsella’s normally fun but completely unfamiliar books, this book resonated and I found Katie to be her most likeable character that she has written to date. Where this book frustrated me though, was in its depiction of male characters.

Katie’s father is warm and loving, but like other Kinsella novels, we don’t get very much from the perspective of the male romantic lead in this novel. And instead of swooning over “unreadable expressions” , I kept thinking about how the male lead was a poor communicator and kept hypothesizing how his characteristics would play out in a long term relationship.

This book was a reminder that romantic comedies are poor teachers for how to help relationships thrive after you’ve met the person you want to spend your life with. To help remedy this gap, below are my thoughts on Kinsella’s latest book, and a list of my 5 favourite books about how to figure out life after “happily ever after”.