Sunday, 15 January 2017

Who's That Girl - Mhairi McFarlane | | Book Review

I'm not one to read chick-lit, I was persuaded by social media influences and felt apprehensive on purchasing the book because of its thickness. I got a beautiful hardback copy in a Waterstones sale after Christmas.

Also author of You Had Me At Hello (which I'm now eager to get my hands on, her writing style inspired me) Mhairi McFarlane, pronounced Vah-Ree went to school in Nottingham so the setting of the book is quite clearly accurate. Who's That Girl was published in 2016 by publishers HarperCollins, praised by Jenny Colgan as "totally hilarious and wincingly real".

Despite its 500 pages I flew through this story. It is utterly hilarious yet heartbreaking. I found myself relating to situations and the wisdom about love, family and friendships. Meet Edie Thompson, our thirty something protagonist who seems to have her life together working for an advertising company in London. Edie is essentially Bridget Jones. But modernized and without the dreamy Colin Firth. Edie gets herself into a spot of bother at her colleagues wedding. The groom (Jack) kisses Edie on HIS wedding day, and in the most unlikely situation the bride (Charlotte) catches them. 

Now, this is not Edie's fault, she's stricken with guilt and all her colleagues and wedding guests blame her. She receives a ton of upsetting abuse aimed at her appearance with accusations of throwing herself at every bloke. Add a little bit of context, Edie and Jack are quite close which raises further suspicion of Jack having an affair. One thing that irritated me is that Edie gets blamed for it all. Jack gets off scott-free. And she is left in a crisis, her boss hears all the gossip and puts Edie on paid 3-month leave, to return to her hometown of Nottingham. She moves back in with her dad and younger sister.

Hope is not lost when her boss gives her the opportunity to ghost write the autobiography of famous actor Elliot Owen. Meet Elliot Owen, seemingly arrogant and a bit of a dick until Edie uncovers the reality of being famous. It's quite eye-opening to discover a celebrities isolation. Mostly, it's a story of a famous person wanting to lead an ordinary life. And obviously includes romance.

Edie's sister Meg is a woman with strong views on feminism and is vegan (who occasionally eats nutella), she is so so SO funny, she made me cry laugh. Definitely my favourite character, along with their next door neighbour Margot who is always seen with a cigarette in her mouth, she's elderly and a bit grumpy, she opens up to Edie and makes cakes for her. She is fabulous and carefree, both characters are.

Who's That Girl has such a diverse selection of characters considering sexuality, race and class. McFarlane has a way of creating compelling characters, complete with flaws and issues.  It addresses themes of loss, love and friendship - the importance of friendship. Chuck in some family conflict and adventures, and here we have, a chick-lit you will mostly certainly love.