At the end of last year I deleted my Instagram account. It wasn’t something I used religiously; a couple of posts per week, mainly images from river walks, the occasional mani or magazine front cover. I wasn’t one for filters or tweaking light effects, but I was conscious that the images I posted (in the main) looked appealing. So why delete my account? In all honesty, I would sometimes find myself endlessly scrolling through ‘recommended images’ thinking to myself, do I really need to see another picture of a matcha latte (utterly revolting, in case you’re wondering)? Or someone’s latest ‘in action’ purchase from Sweaty Betty? The answer – no! Instagram added nothing to my life and it isn’t missed.
When I heard about Sophie Kineslla’s latest book, My Not So Perfect Life, it instantly spoke to me. Following new-to-London-life protagonist, Katie (aka Cath or Cat, depending on her perceived status in life and which one of her colleagues has a good-enough memory), the reader is instantly placed in a rather accurate London-life scenario – that of the infamous daily commute. No bells. No whistles. No filters. Katie originates from Somerset but has always had eyes for The Big Smoke. And now she’s arrived, those rose-tinted spectacles are turning a rather different colour. Working in branding for the most sought after name in the business, she finds herself not only struggling with the day-to-day hardships of city life, but the reality of where she sees herself and those around her.
On the surface, Katie’s peers and superiors are everything she wants to be. So, naturally, she emulates this through her online profile. Some clever photos here and there, a cultural knowledge to rival that of a Mastermind champion – all captioned with happy thoughts – and voila. Katie is hip, happening and where it’s at. But when life around her takes an unexpected downfall, Katie is forced to face reality. In doing so, she learns not only about herself, but also far more than she bargained for when it comes to her esteemed colleagues. What follows is a tantalising story full of revenge, a lot of mud, a rather irresistible meadow and some blue hair dye.
My Not So Perfect Life, makes you laugh-out-loud and is coupled with the perfect dose of romance. But it has its fair share of upset, embarrassment (own it!) and moments of total frustration. This is a must-read for anyone who is fed up with 21st century self-obsession, millenials who think the world owes them a favour and anyone who has it all (in theory and in practice). Kinsella creates a thoroughly believable story with characters that are so well-observed; we’ve all met, heard of and perhaps are the likes of De-meeee-ter (shuddering sympathy), Steve (hilariously huh?) and Flora (definitely a Kale fan).
But what I found most revealing about this book was my perception of the characters and how Kinsella cleverly creates them in a kind of metaphorical if-Instagram-were-real guise. And boy did my perception change by the end of the book. My Not So Perfect Life = a pretty perfect read.
My copy of, My Not So Perfect Life, was provided for review purposes. Available 9 February 2017.