Sophie Kinsella’s My Not So Perfect Life

Have you ever had a really bad day but posted a pic onto social media to make it seem like your day had in fact been great? We’ve all been there. During my recent trip to Europe I was suffering from a sinus infection, and although I did push myself to see everything, I felt miserable for a good portion of the trip. I made multiple trips to the pharmacy for medicine, cried because at one point I could barely swallow, and drank less French wine than I had hoped for, but of course, that wasn’t what I showed to the world. Just like Katie Brenner, the main character in Sophie Kinsella’s newest novel only chose to show the good, I did so as well (of the pics I did post, there are very few close-up pics of me) – but not to the extreme that she takes it.

In My Not So Perfect Life, we follow Katie, a young twenty-something country girl as she tries to make it the branding industry in London. Her boss is all over the place, her commute is a nightmare, and her room in the apartment she shares with two other people is so tiny that she has to keep her clothes in a hammock above her bed (horrible!). But, if you looked at her Instagram account you would never know. Her social media alter ego goes to the best restaurants, has days and nights on the town, and overall, leads a perfect, enviable life. There are a few reasons why Katie does this, but the main one is that she wants to make her father proud and not have him worrying about just how not perfect her life really is. She doesn’t want to disappoint him or be pitied by him. And just as it seems her life is starting to become what she anticipated it to be (making new friends at work and a possible love interest), Katie gets fired and, after a ton of job searching, is forced to return home, where she tells lie after lie to her father. As in all Kinsella novels, Katie eventually has to confront her situation and fess up to all the lies that she told.

I think that Katie’s story is my favorite of (what I’ve read of) Kinsella’s so far. Her story is very relatable to anyone starting out in an industry from the bottom up: the meager salary, the long commute, the not-so-great apartment, the wanting to make people think that your life is all put together. In a way we’re all like that last one, all hoping that one day our lives will reflect exactly what we put on social media, even though in reality, we know that no one’s life is ever actually perfect. Katie’s story is also one about growing up, and accepting yourself for who you are. I feel that, as we get older, we get more comfortable with ourselves and we’re less likely to hide who we are or apologize for it.

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Sophie Kinsella’s My Not So Perfect Life. February 2017 The Dial Press. Penguin Random House.

A Change in Tune

Ever since I started this blog, I generally dedicate my first post of the year to a reflection of the events of the past twelve months and what I hope for the next. I would focus on major events that changed my life, little moments that stole my heart, and lessons that I learned, but this time around I am going to do it a little differently for a couple reasons…one being that my life really has taken a drastic change.

For the most part, 2013 was an awesome year with few exceptions. It didn’t necessarily end or begin the way that I would have liked it to, but looking back, it actually was better. The things that I’m doing now I may not have otherwise done had the year ended differently. For example, currently I am vacillating between reading a manuscript for a woman that I met in the grocery store and struck up a conversation with, and editing my first book – this book was not written by me, it is my first editing project on this level. It is a challenge, but I really love it. I had a discussion with the author just the other day and she was beyond thrilled with the work that I have done so far, which is a great feeling. I am working on some home improvement projects, dusting off my toolbox, changing out old photographs and once again going through my closet. But probably the most important project that I have started is one that takes place inside myself. A few months ago I came to the realization that there were things in my life that I was not happy with, things that, if I really focused on and poured energy into, could be changed for the better. A reinvention. It’s not the first time that I have decided to reinvent myself, nor will it be the last I am sure, but it is always interesting to see the results come into fruition…because they always do.

Last night I was out with a couple of old friends, people who I hadn’t seen in a while, but nonetheless, people who know me better than most. It was a spur of the moment thing that got me home well after my bedtime, but it was worth it on so many levels. We bounced around to a few different spots; I made conversation with strangers, tried a fish-dish, and ended the night singing and dancing in a dive bar to Billy Joel songs playing on the jukebox. We had a discussion on life and what we felt was the one thing that is the most important. One of my friends felt that the concept of time and what you do with that time was the most important thing, but my thoughts were a little different, but I digress.

A few times throughout the night, one of my friends pointed out to me that he noticed a change in the way that I was acting, and that a few months ago I would never have done certain things or said certain things (for example, earlier that night we had been waiting for an appetizer to come out which should have been out long before. He made a comment to the waitress about it, and I stepped in and commented as well, but was much more forceful than my friend was, and the food came right after that). I told my friend about my self-improvement/reinvention project, and he was very impressed and felt that I was onto something huge. And that was when it hit me. I AM onto something huge. My friend Melissa and I talk endlessly about how this is OUR year and how amazing it is going to be, and being out with my friend last night, and having him recognize these changes in me that I’ve been making made me realize that this year will be amazing, and in some ways it already is.

Last year might not have ended the way that I had predicted it would, but I was given something that was much better. Not everyone can reinvent themselves, but I know that I can, and having these improvements and new confidences recognized is one of the most amazing feelings in the world. I can’t predict the changes that life will throw at me this year, but I do know that whatever they are, I will face them straight-on, with my head held high and with a new attitude. And. It WILL be amazing.