Every once in a while (okay, more than I'd like to admit) I pick a book out based on cover alone. Usually I'll read anything, and so it doesn't actually matter - but every once in a while it does seem to backfire on me; and I'd say this is one of those times. I picked up It's Not Me, It's You by Mhairi McFarlane on a win because it was all bright coloured and pretty - and I thought what the hell, I'll give it a go; but, spoiler alert, it wasn't nearly as good as the neon colours would have you believe.
The book follows Delia - a woman who finds out her husband has been having an affair and, unsure what to do now that her ten year relationship is crumbling, she makes the radical decision to move her life from Newcastle to London and have a go at starting up life afresh. Unwilling to let her relationship go, but unsure whether she has any other options, we watch Delia's life fall into freefall - and in a questionable job, with a fresh nemesis and a healthy dose of blackmail; we follow her decision right until the very end.
Let's be clear; it's not at all that I don't like this book. I find it charming and funny and, as promised on the cover, it's genuinely smart. I even like that there's a character from Birkenhead thrown in there as my hometown of Wirral is very, very underrepresented in literature (although admittedly probably for good reason) - but it just feels a little disconnected. Have you ever read a book, or watched a film and felt as though it could happily have ended in the middle, or just a few chapters earlier than it actually did? I suppose in a lot of ways that's how I feel about this book. It has a brilliant ending - but there are huge chapters of this pretty long book that just seem unnecessary; not unpleasant to read, not boring - just not particularly adding much to the story.
Like I said; it's not that I don't like the book - and I really do like McFarlane's writing style and so I'll be keen to see what other offerings of her's that I can pick up; all in all, I just found this book a little bit mediocre. Not a bad read, just not amongst the best that I've read this year; but I can't wait to try other McFarlane books - I'll report back when I have!
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