Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Book Review: "It's Not Me, It's You" by Mhairi McFarlane

It's Not Me, It's You Mhairi McFarlane
Published: May 19, 2015
ISBN: 9780008116217
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours

Delia Moss isn't quite sure where she went wrong. Everything was going smoothly. Ok, she had a slightly rubbish job working for the council and she hadn t seen her best friend Emma in god knows how long, but she'd been working up to proposing to Paul for months. This. Was. It.

But with one annoying little beep beep, Delia's life is turned upside down and rather than stick around and commit GBH by punching her cheating scumbag boyfriend (who still wants to be with her) in the chops, she decides the best thing to do would be get some head space and leave for London.

But a new city is never going to be the answer, and with a dodgy new job in media PR, where a suspicious yet devastatingly handsome journalist seems to be sniffing around and endangering her job, Delia can't run forever. Where did the old Delia go? And can she get her back? 

My Thoughts:
There are books you read because they widen your horizons or make you think of things in a new light. Then, there are books you read because you want something dependable--you know how things are going to turn out and that's just a-okay.  It's Not Me, It's You definitely falls into the latter group.

The basis of this book is not unusual: Young woman's life is turned upside down (by a cheatin' boyfriend, of course) and heads off to the big city where her world is opened up and she realizes her own strength.  Obviously, this formula works as it is a common trope in Contemporary Fiction.

Because of that, I can't fault this book for being predictable.  I think I would have been disappointed if the book did not follow the expected path.  There is something comfortable about reading a book where you know what is going to happen--I don't want that for every book that I read, but it is nice from time to time.

I say all this because a predictable plot is not my issue with this book.

Frankly, this book was a good 100-150 pages too long and with 1 or 2 too many plots.  We have 3 major arcs here--Delia and her cheating boyfriend, Delia and her amoral boss and the journalist who wants to bring him down, and Delia and her internet Troll who becomes her friend.  Any one of these plots on their own could have been a book, but McFarlane tries to weave all three into one narrative.

The problem is that she doesn't really do so in a way that three plots work together.  Instead, it seems like she deals with plot A for a few chapters and then drops it for plot B, drops plot B for a nod towards plot C, and then back to plot B until it is time to go to plot A. Because of this, I found it hard to get tied into any of the arcs she has going.

I also felt that she dragged things on too long.  There was a point in this book, about 3/4 of the way through, where McFarlane should have ended it.  Yes, there was some character resolution in the last 1/4 of the book, but that could have been addressed earlier.  By the time that I got to that last part of the book, I just didn't care any more.

I also felt that one of the plots mentioned above (no spoiler...) should either have been elevated or eliminated.  At the start of the book, it was by far the most interesting plot, but McFarlane never develops it from its initial burst and it left me feeling confused as to why, if she wasn't going to follow it through, why she would bother to include it.

I was hoping for a fun, frivolous read with this book, but instead, I was left scratching my head and wishing the author had done a few more rounds of editing and re-writing before publishing this.

About the Author:
Mhairi McFarlane was born in Scotland in 1976, and has been explaining how to pronounce her name ever since (MH=V sound!). She is the author of You Had Me At Hello, and is based in Nottingham where she’s a freelance writer and blogger. You can follow her on Twitter: @MhairiMcF.

I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review.  I received no other compensation for this post.

Want to read more about this book?  Check out the other stops on this tour!

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