My (not so) Perfect Life
Book Review - My (not so) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
I am so excited to discuss My (not so) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella during tomorrow's Virtual Book Club. Even if you haven't finished it (or even started it), you're welcome to join us! This book is full of powerful themes that will generate engaging discussions. I can't wait!
My (not so) Perfect Life is about Katie/Cat - a 20-something from a farm in Somerset, England who just moved to London to start her first full-time job at a brand consulting firm. She grew up dreaming about the "city princesses" living in their beautiful town homes, wearing the latest designer clothing, and eating out at all of the hottest restaurants. Katie's boss, Demeter, is all of those things (if also kind of a nightmare to work for.) Katie, however, is living in a tiny apartment with eccentric neighbors. She can barely afford to make ends meet much less buy new clothes or eat out at any restaurant and certainly not the hottest restaurants. But she's determined to make the most of it because she's living in London - a city that makes her come alive! She's living her dream and she's determined to work hard and move her way up in the company. So when Demeter eliminates Katie's job in a tactless, off-handed way, Katie is devastated and has to figure out how she's going to survive until she finds another job.
Some of the themes that Sophie Kinsella highlights in this book, and which I think will be fun to discuss tomorrow, include:
Instagram. Repeat after me. No one has a perfect life. No one. No matter what their Instagram feed looks like. No matter what airs they put on in public. I guarantee you, something sucks in their life. In My (not so) Perfect Life, Katie looks at the Instagram feeds of her friends and feels like her life is lesser-than. She also posts fake photos of what she's doing, where she's eating so that her life looks better than it is.
We need to quit comparing our whole lives (the bright-and shiny and the crappy truths) to just the bright-and-shiny that someone else is willing to share with us. With that being said, Instagram is a place to share bright-and-shiny parts of your life, or humor, or anything that brings you joy. No one walks around airing their grievances to anyone who will listen, so why would we do that on social media?
Women supporting women in the workplace. Demeter was in a position to mentor her team: encourage their careers, celebrate their successes. In some ways she did, but in other ways she failed miserably (I don't want to give too much away, so I'll leave it at that.) In the book, there was some inter-office competition among two women in leadership positions. While they had the choice to work together, mentor one another and others, they chose not to. I'm including a video by Sheryl Sandberg about why mentorship matters to women. It is less than 3 minutes long, so I encourage you to watch it.
Communication. So many problems can be fixed if we'd just talk things out with one another! There were so many problems (both at Katie's job and in her personal life) that could have been avoided if everyone was just honest with one another. Also - pride is ridiculous. Katie was too proud to tell her friends that she couldn't afford to eat out, so she pretended to be sick and in the process made herself look crazy. Katie and her love interest are too proud to tell one another that they love each other so they end up breaking it off. The examples in this book are numerous...and the examples in life are endless!
Commutes. I'm adding this one in here as a comic relief. Katie has a terrible commute between her apartment and her place of work. I can relate. Let's all commiserate about how commutes can be the worst.
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