“Stylish but Shallow: The upside is you have great taste. The downside is you’re completely shallow.”
When Holly gets the above result from a Cosmo personality test, it somehow hits her harder than the hundreds she’s taken before. And although she’s already started and discarded dozens of self-improvement schemes, this time she’s determined to stick to one, even if it involves death by yoga, herbal supplement-induced diarrhea, or – heavens forbid! – getting outside.
I confess, I picked this up and put it back down quite quickly some time ago – the opening is really not very enthralling. I couldn’t quite figure out if it was fiction (in which case I thought the opening read terribly!) or a non-fiction, in which case the style is a bit more forgivable: first person, confessional-type thing.
Sticking with it – one of my New Year’s resolutions being to finish stuff! – it quickly gets much better, and yes, it’s fiction. It turned out to be an amusing pastiche of self-help books, told through one woman’s journal as she works her way through a life-changing program. Holly, a housewife and mother of three, is living a self-confessed ‘perfect’ life, and yet so miserable she’s a borderline alcoholic with binge-eating issues and a possible child-neglect charge in her future. Likeable? Heck no. But, she is self-deprecating and funny enough in her journals that I didn’t utterly hate her.
Of course, there’s a massive element of wish-fulfillment going on here, and that runs the risk of being irritating. Holly suffers her fair share of disasters, of course, but you know exactly how this is going to work out.
And yet… I still really enjoyed the read! This is so not my choice of genre, but I was obviously in the mood for some light-hearted fluff. More, despite the utter hippy-tastic nature of the book-within-book, I couldn’t help but wish that I, too, could find a self-help tome to make my life that much shinier…! 😉
Rather disappointing that the author hasn’t written anything else, as she has an easy to read style – once you’re past those opening paragraphs, so stick with it!
NetGalley eARC: 327 pages in diary format
First published: 2012
Read from 3rd-9th January 2017
My rating: 7/10