I received a copy of this book on NetGalley from the publisher.
I liked – but didn’t love – Lucy Vine’s last book , so when I saw on NetGalley that she had another coming, I thought it was worth giving a whirl. Louise O’Neill, who’s blurbed this, is an incisively sharp writer, so I thought that alone was enough of an accolade to make me pick this up. Added to that, then when the story sounded like something that I would really relate to – having just turned 29 and not really having a clue what I’m doing with my life – I was on board.
‘Laugh-out-loud funny. Truly, the Bridget Jones for our generation’ Louise O’Neill
Alice is turning thirty and is stuck in a rut. Her friends are all coupling up and settling down, while she’s still working as a temp, trying (and failing) not to shag her terrible ex, getting thrown out of clubs, and accidentally sexting her boss…
She decides to throw caution to the wind and jets off on a round-the-world adventure to #FindTheFun and find herself. Of course, she’s no more likely to find the answer to true happiness on the beach in Thailand than she is at the electric beach in Tooting, but at least in Thailand there’s paddleboard yoga.
Can Alice find happiness on her travels? Or is she more likely to lose herself all over again…?
This book was very much on a par with What Fresh Hell? It had some funny moments, it had some touching moments, it had a lot of great and supportive friendships which had wobbles as the people became self-centred, but all comes good in the end. I also liked Alice’s approach to blogging, which was very much of the ‘fake it til you make it’ ilk.
There was lots of great stuff in this book, and I really liked Alice’s relationship with her siblings. But the central conflict of the book felt underdeveloped, particularly when it came to the crucial point of separation which happened a few years before the book opens. I’m trying not to spoil anything here, as the central conflict does only come to the fore of the book in the final third. But because it’s only hinted at early on, it doesn’t feel like it’s given as much weight as perhaps it should. And, really, it was resolved so easily, without very much introspection or growth from Alice, the main character.
I did enjoy reading this book. I just didn’t get as much out of it as I had hoped. In terms of chick lit, I’d rank it much lower than, say, a Sophie Kinsella or a Marian Keyes, and I was left just a little bit disappointed. Which is quite sad, because I really do think Lucy Vine has a great grasp of characterisation, and there are certainly glimmers of something wonderful in there.
Sadly, I just don’t think that Lucy Vine and I quite click the way I think others do with her. Her humour isn’t quite right for me, and the abundance of hashtags in Alice’s blog posts grated very quickly. That said, though, Instagram grates on me for the same reason.
For this one, I think it’s more me than the book. I thought it was good, but not great. But that’s a very personal thing, and I can definitely see someone else really loving this, and relating to it much more strongly than I did.