#Review: Luckiest Girl Alive
It's been a while since I've written a book review, but something about this book made me do it.
The title alone might make you think that the book you're about to read is a tale of said girl 'making it', most likely in the beauty or fashion industry, but this is no The Devil Wears Prada-esque story (besides, the purple-y black rose on the cover artwork should give you a hefty hint at the drama that's about to ensue). Instead the book opens with the insights of a woman obviously (to the reader at least) in pain who is doing that merry dance of hiding emotions and appearing the picture of contoured and coiffed perfection on the outside.
Ani - annoyingly pronounced Ah-nee - FaNelli is a 28 year old woman living in New York who appears to have it all; she's got the glossy magazine role, a Ralph Lauren-wearing fiance (well, that's what I imagine he would wear) who also has a ton of money and all she really has to think about in life is planning a wedding fit for those who spend their summers in Nantucket. But hold up, we only find out the above info fter Ani fantasises about stabbing her picture perfect fiancé in the stomach. All on the first page.
From there on Knoll leads us through a series of flashbacks to the story of Ani's past, the events that made her the uncaring and unsafe woman that she is today. Without spoiling any of the details, it's a story of wanting to fit in with the cool crowd at school, no matter what, even when sexual violence and public embarrassment might be the price you have to pay. There's a hefty twist in there too. I read the book in between client work in around three days because I really wanted to see what this woman was up to; could she keep up the facade? She's not perfect - and neither is the book - but she kept me reading.
As with all 'hits', the book is also receiving its fair share of negative reviews, especially in comparison to Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl. In my opinion, these are largely based on the language and how vapid Ani's character can seem, but to me, that sense of not really considering/feeling things is exactly what many of us suffer from on a daily basis. Perhaps thanks to social media and all that comes with it - body shaming for one - many people choose to disassociate themselves from how they feel and basically just buy shit/form addictions to fill the void. (I've read Gone Girl and loved it, but found the lead character, Amy Pike, way more annoying than Ani. But hey, make of that what you will.)
As someone who has 'writing a novel' at the top of my Things To Do Before I Die list, I have to admit, I'm pretty jealous of what Knoll has achieved with this book, but, during times of romantic indulgence, I allow myself to imagine that the fact we have similar career backgrounds (both women's magazine editors) means that I'm destined for similar glory. Who wouldn't like to have Reese Witherspoon producing the film version of their first novel?
Have you read Luckiest Girl Alive yet? What did you think? And what should I read next? I've got so many business and motivational books on the go that I need a good bit of fiction to unwind with!