Guest Reviewer: Perfect Illusion

By: Dana Tong

The Specs

Do you ever have those days when you’re scanning through channels on TV and you hit upon How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, and even though you’ve seen it 200 times, you turn it on anyways? That’s how I feel about Sophie Kinsella books. I know how they go; I’ve read several of them multiple times, but I get sucked in with every read. Chick lit earns a bad rap, but honestly, do you want to read something depressing and dark every time you pick up a book? I love a good thriller and a good sob as well (Cutting for Stone elicited one of the Great Cries of 2013), but I also love a warm and fuzzy, funny, silly book just as much.

After a string of not-so-amazing reads, I picked up Sophie Kinsella’s My (Not So) Perfect Life. The story centers around Katie, a young 20-something trying to make it in the big city after a life on the farm, climb the career ladder, build a social life—and make sure everyone knows via social media how successful she is at all of these things. When Katie gets fired from her job by her constantly frazzled manager, she tries to keep up the appearances she has built while also helping her family turn a corner in their lives and build a successful glamping business.


Source: Amazon.


This book keeps true to Sophie Kinsella’s typical humor while also introducing a new kind of character—one many of us can relate to. The Shopaholic books succeed at producing many laughs but at the expense of the main character, whose harebrained shopping schemes anyone would find utterly ridiculous. As the Kirkus review points out, “Katie is a winning heroine with a point of view even more likable than that of Kinsella’s Becky Bloomwood. It’s easy to root for Katie as she deals with problems that are relatable (being fired, dealing with roommates) and less-than-relatable (running a glamping business).” Katie is in the position that I myself and anyone else in the content world has probably found themselves in at one point or another—worried about finding a job and trying to make it in a big city or in the corporate world. And who nowadays doesn’t also put up a façade of a “perfect” life on Instagram or secretly check on how many likes they’ve gotten on a status update? (Cue Lady Gaga’s 2016 hit.)

“Whoever started the rumor that life has to be perfect is a very wicked person, if you ask me.” — My (Not So) Perfect Life

The other great part of the book is the situation surrounding Katie’s manager, Demeter. At first, Demeter seems like another Miranda Priestley type, but further reading reveals there is much, much more going on than meets the eye. How these two women end up navigating the balance of work, life, and friendship in more than one context provides a great storyline relating to the issues of the day for women.

So if you’re in the mood for something funny and charming and a break from all books depressing, I recommend dispensing with the notion of a chick lit “beach read” and picking up this book as soon as you can!

Dana Tong is a managing editor for S&P Global Ratings and currently lives in Silver Spring, Md. She’s an amazing friend and no stranger to the blogosphere. Check out her dining and travel blog, Girl Seeking Food.

Dana and me

Dana and me during a lovely D.C. outing.

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