My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella tells the story of Katie Brenner, a twentysomething caught up in the jealousy she feels towards her boss and coworkers, all of whom lead seemingly perfect lives. A Somerset girl who spent her childhood on a farm, Katie has been trying to carve out a life for herself in London, but she can’t afford the things she wants, not to mention her own flat sans wacky roommates.
She can’t confide in her dad that life in London is actually quite miserable, and has been lying to him for years about how well things are going. Not to mention she maintains an Instagram account with snapshots of how great her life is, but none of the photos tell the real story of her life: that she is miserable, quite poor, and very, very unhappy with the way things have turned out.
When Katie is unexpectedly fired from her job at a marketing and branding agency, she finds herself back home in Somerset. In true Kinsella-writing fashion, she lies to her dad and stepmom about why she’s come home, and tells them she is on sabbatical. Instead of delving into the details, Katie switches her focus to helping her dad and stepmom get their new business venture off the ground.
The longer she stays in Somerset and away from London, the more connected she starts to feel to her true self, and loses the London persona she had created. That is, until her boss makes a surprise trip to Somerset and Katie must face her once and for all.
If you are a fan of Sophie Kinsella, this one will not disappoint. It has all the elements that she is known for: unique plots, cringe-worthy sitcom-esque hijinks, and witty dialogue. But My Not So Perfect Life is special because I think it is the first Kinsella book that is completely, entirely 100% realistic and relatable.
Example: when Katie agrees to hang out with her friend over the weekend she meets up at her friend’s house, realizes that she still lives at home with her parents and watches, horrified, as her mom gives her a hundred bucks straight out of her purse so they can go shopping and to lunch…whaaaa? There are so many other moments in the book where I could have easily pictured myself as Katie and I bet I’m not the only reader who feels that way.
We’ve All Been There
The Shopaholic series and the spin-offs like Wedding Night and The Undomestic Goddess are wonderful books and so fun to read but they aren’t exactly true to life, and that’s part of why I love them. The situations Becky Bloomwood finds herself in would never happen and that’s why they’re so thrilling to read about. But with My Not So Perfect Life, I think she has really struck a chord with readers. I am positive I’m not the only one who noticed that this main character could easily have been me, or someone I know. Struggling with images of the perfect life is basically the theme of this decade after all, right?
Like most Kinsella books, even if you think you can guess what the ending will be, you will never be able to guess how it plays out. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys her writing, and anyone else who gets sucked into comparing their life to others via their social media feeds and who could use a gentle reality check, with a more than a few laughs along the way.
What About You?
What is your favorite Sophie Kinsella book? Aside from Shopaholic, I really liked Twenties Girl and The Undomestic Goddess especially, but I have found all of her books to be really compelling and fun to read.