BOOK REVIEW: WHO'S THAT GIRL? BY MHAIRI MCFARLANE



What’s the one thing you DON’T do at a wedding?

When Edie is caught in a compromising position at her colleagues’ wedding, all the blame falls on her – turns out that personal popularity in the office is not that different from your schooldays. Shamed online and ostracised by everyone she knows, her boss suggests an extended sabbatical – ghostwriting an autobiography for hot new acting talent, Elliot Owen. Easy, right?

Wrong. Banished back to her home town of Nottingham, Edie is not only dealing with a man who probably hasn’t heard the word ‘no’ in a decade, but also suffering an excruciating regression to her teenage years as she moves back in with her widowed father and judgey, layabout sister.

When the world is asking who you are, it’s hard not to question yourself. Who’s that girl? Edie is ready to find out.
 


mild spoilers ahead


I will admit, this is a long-ass book. I didn't actually expect to finish it, mostly due to it being a 550 odd page chick lit book, but here we are. The last book I read by Mhairi was just as long, but didn't really grip me as much/ Who's That Girl, on the other hand, got me interested. For one thing, the story centers around a famous actor who just wants a normal life, and this is something that's prominent in a story I'm writing myself (one of the many, many stories that I have in mind!) so this was sort of research.

The protagonist, Edie, is a typical clumsy and unlucky-in-love girl caught up in a terrible situation. She attends the wedding of two of her colleagues and ends up being kissed by the groom. And as  she has secretly loved him for a long time, she is both thrilled and horrified that it happened. There was something that bothered me about this that also annoyed me about the last chick lit book I read, The Undomestic Goddess. Nobody talks things through! Ever. She is caught up in this problem, and yet she does nothing to actually explain herself. So what does she do?

She runs away.


Things in life won't solve themselves if you run away from them, oh my goodness. Anyway, I won't keep ranting about it because I've already expressed how annoyed that makes me. Instead, let's move on to another thing that bothered me - the guy. Jack kissed her. She got blamed and he got let off way easier than she did. Why is that? WHY? She had people crying for her blood, and he got forgiven. That's not a fault of the book, though, because honestly, I feel like it would be like that in real life anyway. It was super frustrating though, I just wanted to jump into the book and shake her like 'DEFEND YOURSELF, WOMAN'.

So, with a target on her back, she decides to flee London and go back home to Nottingham and stay with her father and incredibly annoying sister Meg. She meets some new people, reunites with old friends and becomes entangled in the life of a famous actor, Elliot. She was given a chance to write his autobiography by her boss, in an effort to help get her away from the claws of her colleagues who seem to hate her for what Jack did.

Elliot is what I was hoping he would be. He has sarcasm, confidence and charm that is always fun to read, and the insight of his life as a famous actor is sad yet likely to be very true in some cases. Hounded, lied about and already pre-judged before people meet him. Luckily our Edie is there to put some normality and humour into his life, and it's obvious that he finds more than friendship blooming. And I also adore his brother Fraz, who was a cheeky lad who always made me smile when he showed up, and the brotherly banter is always hilariously entertaining. They're like a new family for her.

Family and friendship is a large part of this book, and surprisingly, there isn't as much romance as I expected. That's always refreshing. Mhairi writes about standing up for yourself (finally, Edie), showing your family and friends that you love them (even if you haven't much before), and living your life how you want, and doing what makes you happy. 

There is so much humour in this book, and I was laughing all the way through it. Especially with lines like 'Every pair of buttocks in the room clenched' which will always be funny to me.  Being a Brit myself, I always find British books like this endearing, and I love the dry humour and sarcasm that just drips off all the pages.

The ending of the book is one of those 'it can be what you want it to be' because it just... stops. I don't mind that, although sometimes it can be frustrating if you've just read about 550 pages. What's another page? You'll see if you read it, which you should, but I was pretty happy with it. Very satisfied with this and I'll for sure keep reading Mhairi's work because she always seems to hit the spot with it. I just hope that the girl doesn't keep running from her problems again, but I guess that's what women's fiction seems to be all about.

I also found a typo, and I found it weirdly exciting to see it. I need a life.




Now, my fellow readers, I want to hear from you! I do wonder if you've thought the same when reading these kind of books, and I know it's supposed to set the story but oh my god. What are your thoughts on 'people who can't handle their issues' in these stories? I can't be the only one who is getting a tad annoyed with it. And will you be reading this one? I do recommend Mhairi McFarlane if you do like either women's fiction or British books. Do let us know! You can either leave a comment below or find us at any of the following social outlets:



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BOOK REVIEW: WHO'S THAT GIRL? BY MHAIRI MCFARLANE
4/ 5
Oleh

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