Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
I’d never heard of Mhairi McFarlane (according to Goodreads Mhairi is pronounced Vah-Ree), which I guess can be excused since she’s a UK-based, Scottish-born writer. But after reading Who’s That Girl, I feel like Mhairi and I could be good friends who might go out for a pint of real ale in Nottingham the next time I visit the UK.
Who’s That Girl is a rom-com, chick lit, brilliant read. I was literally “lol”ling for much of the first half (or more) of the book. And, for those of you who’ve never tried to write something funny, let me tell you it’s extremely hard, as a writer, to be funny. You think too much about it and then it just doesn’t come.
Edie has been texting with Jack. He’s extraordinary. They connect on so many levels. He’s funny and appreciates her humor. He kisses her…when he’s drunk and after he’s just married Charlotte, Edie’s co-worker. Charlotte sees them and life, as Edie has known it, is gone. Her boss, Richard, who thinks that she is a gem, sends her off to her hometown of Nottingham to ghost-write an autobiography of an actor, Elliot Owens, so that “events” in the office can wind-down. But there’s a lot of fall-out from the kiss. Social media rears its ugly head and pronounces Edie an evil woman.
“Because you’re not real to them, online. You’re abstract. They don’t think you’ll ever see what they wrote, or care if you do. You’re a game. A story. And the more of them there are, the easier it becomes for them. The snowflake doesn’t feel responsible for the avalanche.”
In Nottingham, Edie stays with her father and younger sister, Meg, who is a vegan activist. Despite the fact that Meg and Edie once were inseparable, they no longer get along. Next door is Margot, an elderly former actress who likes to say exactly what she thinks, with a brandy or two in hand. And, she bakes a really mean cake.
Edie’s best friends, Hannah, a doctor who briefly moved to Edinburgh with her boyfriend, Pete (now ex-), and Nick, who married a scary woman, are now in Nottingham and help Edie realize what she’s been missing by living in London and trying to make do and impress people, also known as so-called friends, who don’t really care about her.
“Edie glowed a bit. Her friends were so nice. This was so nice. In London, she had to strive to feel good enough for her social circle–carefully tidying the messier, less cosmetic parts of her life away.”
Elliot is not what Edie expected. He’s so much more normal—and smart. She imagines that he is one of those actors that directors allow to ad-lib their lines. He’s also gorgeous and sweet.
“If Edie had learned one thing from being around Elliot, it was that awe wasn’t a limitless natural resource. Your body can’t sustain awe. Sooner or later it gets tired of awe and want a sandwich.”
Who’s That Girl had me laughing and crying, literally. There are many, many laughs and insightful philosophy, and commentary, and sad bits and it all works extremely well. I can’t say enough good things about this book. Add it to your list, if you like funny, romantic, and intelligent books. It is long, but I enjoyed every single word of it and really, really didn’t want it to end.
I’m just about to start adding all of the Mhairi McFarlane books I can find to my tbr pile.
I received an ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
From Amazon: Who’s That Girl