Thursday, October 18, 2018

Mhairi McFarlane - It's Not Me, It's You

Delia Moss isn’t quite sure where she went wrong.
When she proposed and discovered her boyfriend was sleeping with someone else – she thought it was her fault.
When she realised life would never be the same again – she thought it was her fault.
And when he wanted her back life nothing had changed – Delia started to wonder if perhaps she was not to blame…
From Newcastle to London and back again, with dodgy jobs, eccentric bosses and annoyingly handsome journalists thrown in, Delia must find out where her old self went – and if she can ever get her back.

Comment: I got interested in this book in 2016 but I can't remember where was it listed/recommended/mentioned that I felt I had to add it to my TBR. Anyway, I bought it months ago and finally decided to start it but I admit I didn't have may expectations about it, which probably was helped because I barely looked at reviews about the book.

In this book, we have the story of Delia Moss that, when the story begins, proposes to her long time boyfriend and moments later receives a text message from her boyfriend, but realizes he sent it to the other woman. 
This starts an emotional journey for Delia, for she starts questioning her life until that moment, and especially how much she can trust this man who hid something like this for so long. 
To be able to think, she leaves her town of Newcastle to London, where she is staying with a friend. In London, Delia tries to find a job so she can be occupied and not too much into her friend's debt and she gets hired by a PR guy and things seem to not go that badly until this other guy, Adam - who claims to be a reporter - starts blackmailing her about her boss after a disastrous coffee meeting. What has Delia got herself into?

One of the labels of this book is "chick lit" which means we can immediately start having pre conceived ideas about what it must be like but let me tell you that despite fitting that category well, it was quite entertaining and not as silly as chick lit often can be.
Basically, this is the story of a woman who dedicated many of her emotional years to a man and discovers he was cheating. As common place as this is, of course it acts as a cathartic way for Delia to change and broaden her horizons.

At the same time Delia moves to London for a while, to be away from her boyfriend, to think about everything, she recalls her teenage love for comics and especially her own creation, a super heroine called Fox who also had a real fox as a sidekick. I liked how the author incorporated this detail in the story and of course it's to be expected some parallelism with Delia's own life. In my edition there were also some pages with the cartoon scenes as well and that was quite cute. I assume all editions have this...

The plot isn't complicated but Delia obviously lets herself into situations which can be a little awkward and until a certain point, "wrong". Part of the goal is for Delia to learn, to improve while she deals with these situations and in this aspect, I think the author has managed to impress on me a good point. There's also this apparent comic side of this but I confess I didn't find everything to be that funny... or maybe it was the fact I've missed some impact because some jokes include slang and cultural details that I don't recognize. But I did laugh at some things, so yes, the book definitely has this funny side too.

There's romance, of course. I must say I found the lessons Delia was learning, especially emotionally, to be quite serious and I liked how I was able to connect with her, even when she was being sillier or acting opposite of what I'd do in her shoes. The romance isn't obvious until a certain moment in the story but after that it can be a little predictable. I still think that the author inserted a tone in this part (the romance doubts, I mean) which added veracity to Delia's struggles. The HEA is believable but at the same time, a little too perfect.

I admit I missed the point of the title regarding the story. But, nevertheless, I can understand why it can resonate with readers/people in terms of explaining some "reborn self worth" or not feeling guilty about a situation not in one's control.
There are some issues when it comes to the execution, some details that I can only see being there to fit a need later on the plot and not for real necessity but overall, this was entertaining, this was a light read with some serious content and I did want to keep turning the pages, so... good enough for me.
Grade: 7/10

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