Book Review: My Not So Perfect Life

I finally got to My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella, and I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner. In my defense, I love Sophie Kinsella’s work and each time a book comes out I’m afraid that it will be the one to disappoint. So far, she’s batting .1000!

Lovable junior research assistant Cat is living the dream in London with a job at a hip branding agency. Her Insta feed is packed with filtered snaps of her glamorous life. Except her highly-cultivated online persona doesn’t show her dingy apartment, dismal bank account balance, or the crippling loneliness she’s faced since moving out on her own. When things get tough for Cat, she looks to her boss Demeter–an incredibly talented and flighty executive–for inspiration. Demeter has the job, the family, the money–the makings of a perfect life.

A chance encounter pushes up-and-coming creative genius Alex Astalis into Cat’s path, but before Cat can explore the something between them she’s downsized from her job. With no prospects or savings, Cat moves home to the country to help her family with their new glamping business and face her former life as Katie. Her marketing savvy turns the venture into an instant success and draws London’s elite to enjoy the resort, including her former boss. As Katie plots revenge on Demeter, new discoveries prove that no one has it all.

Like I said, I adored this book. I laughed and let my heartstrings be tugged while rooting for Katie. She’s a smart and fiery character looking to take on the world, and it was so interesting to see her cast against an older, more experienced Demeter. I liked the way Kinsella addressed how we let our online selves dictate the value of our experiences IRL. Check your Snapchat filters at the door, and pick this one up immediately.

Hitting Refresh

As Tom Petty says, “Waiting is the hardest part.” I’m not great at waiting, and some obsessive tendencies lead me to check my email every few minutes to see if a reply from an agent on a submission has come in. Spoiler alert: they haven’t.

When you’re querying, I don’t think anything is as excruciating as waiting to hear back on a query a partial request a full request. My theory is that it’s so hard to wait when you’re trying to find an agent because there is nothing you can actually do.

Setting goals and deadlines helps to soothe my type-a soul. As I work toward a specific goal (X number of words or pages revised), I feel like I’m making progress–even if they’re small steps. This sense of control over my situation creates a warm blanket of security in a highly subjective industry. In the query trenches, there is no such comfort.

I know a lot of writers feel this strain. I also know that, if I were to get an agent, there is only more waiting in my future when it’s time to go out on submission. Since I’ve not been down that road (yet!), I can’t speak to how that feels. I only know where I’m at, and where I am right now is staring at my inbox. Hitting refresh.

Any ideas to make the waiting easier? I’ve been distracting myself with a new project, and so far that’s been the only thing to keep my attention away from my gmail.

I watch movies too

Any book person worth their salt has a handful of reading recommendations ready at any given time. As a genre fiction magpie, I constantly push my favorites from YA to fantasy to women’s fiction. The only thing I love more than finding a new favorite book is pushing it so hard on someone that they’re compelled to read out of fear for their personal safety. I’m that person.

Though I don’t get out to the movies much these days (See: children, job, attempts at writing), I do have a treasure trove of late 20th century film recommendations. Just like books, I insist that friends, co-workers, and random people in the Starbucks line watch these whether or not they’re available on Netflix. Here are just a few:

  1. Soapdish: Fictional soap operas and their diva casts are so much better than soaps IRL. Soapdish follows an aging starlet as she begins to face the realities of getting older and becoming obsolete in the entertainment industry. This hilarious gem features Sally Fields, Kevin Kline, Elizabeth Shue, Whoopi, a young RDJ, and a fake beach with its own wave machine. It’s amazing!
  2. Clue: Clue is my favorite board game and its movie adaptation has been an obsession for decades. It showcases a cast of familiar characters solving a murder mystery on a stormy night. We’re entertained as they tear all over the mansion searching for clues. With slapstick laughs and manic talent of Tim Curry, this is a must watch for any fans of the game.
  3. The Princess Bride: As unfathomable  as it may seem, there are people who haven’t seen this movie. From what I can tell they hate princesses, pirates, sword fights, catch phrases, and happiness.

Do you have any prerequisite films for friends?