My Not So Perfect Life
By Sophie Kinsella
Sophie Kinsella was one of the big stars of the genre formerly known as chick lit. Her hit Shopaholic novels exploited the neat idea of a financial journalist who is terrible with money. The result is satire but somewhat decaffeinated. My Not So Perfect Life doesn’t deviate from Kinsella’s winning formula. The lead, Katie Brenner, sounds and acts like a 19th-century literary heroine, albeit one transported to 21st-century metropolitan life. Her lowly job at hip advertising agency Cooper Clemmow means that she lives in a flat whose shoebox dimensions wouldn’t house a pair of high heels. Fuelled by vegetable soup, Katie is fired by impossible-to-please boss Demeter, but rehired by her father who needs help in a new glamping venture on the family farm. The observational comedy (about overwork, failed romance, family dynamics) makes you smile rather than laugh out loud. The resulting cocktail – a splash of The Devil Wears Prada, a dash of Cold Comfort Farm, a jigger of Working Girl (when Demeter returns for a nice revenge plot) – tastes familiar but is eminently enjoyable.