Review: It's Not Me, It's You by Mhairi McFarlane (5/5)

Thursday, 6 November 2014
Delia Moss isn’t quite sure where she went wrong.

When she proposed and discovered her boyfriend was sleeping with someone else – she thought it was her fault.

When she realised life would never be the same again – she thought it was her fault.

And when he wanted her back like nothing had changed – Delia started to wonder if perhaps she was not to blame…

From Newcastle to London and back again, with dodgy jobs, eccentric bosses and annoyingly handsome journalists thrown in, Delia must find out where her old self went – and if she can ever get her back.

This was my first read from Mhairi McFarlane but I was very excited given how highly fellow bloggers speak of her work. I wasn't therefore put off the the book's 500+ pages. A book of that length has to be really good for me to invest my time, and actually time just flew by as I was reading this book, so engrossed was I in the world and characters that McFarlane has created.

It's always a sign that you are onto a winner when you are laughing from the very first page. Very rarely does a book make me actually laugh out loud but I did with this one many times. It's a seriously funny read at times, but also one that touches on some emotional and serious subjects as well. Also, the humour is believable and not that ridiculous, over the top silliness you often get in this genre. It's the perfect pick me up, and I really looked forward to my spare time so that I could continue reading this book. From the beginning it was clear that McFarlane has a unique and original voice in chick lit. In what is an incredibly crowded genre I look for authors who are exciting and can stand out from the crowd. McFarlane is one of those authors and I just loved her writing. I will be abandoning the review TBR to check out her earlier books as soon as possible.

I loved our main character Delia straightaway. I especially liked that she isn't the typical character you sometimes get in this genre, she's a very unique character and definitely the sort of person you would just love to be friends with. Unfortunately though her life is about to take a turn for the worse. She proposes to her boyfriend Paul, who accepts rather unenthusiastically. Soon after Delia receives a text from Paul, intended for the girl he has been having an affair with, expressing his horror at the proposal. Awkward. These scenes and the ones that follow almost make you want to look away but you can't, it's too addictive and you really feel for Delia as she tries to make sense of it all, and worries about what her future now looks like as a possible single woman.

Delia is such an easy character to root for. Leaving Newcastle for London, a temporary visit with best friend Emma soon sees Delia with a job in a PR firm, and perhaps a new life in London, though even that isn't without its problems given that she soon finds herself making decisions she isn't entirely comfortable with, and her lecherous boss Kurt doesn't exactly help matters. Through her work she meets Alex who she takes an instant dislike to, and their instant love/hate relationship soon gets very exciting indeed. Meanwhile Paul isn't giving up without a fight, and Delia's life in Newcastle is never far away. At times I was just as torn as Delia. Paul appears sincere at times, you almost find yourself wanting her to forgive him but screaming at her not to at other times. This certainly makes the book a little less predictable because you really don't know what's going to happen.

The book has an eclectic mix of characters, including Peshwari Naan or, The Naan. The Naan is an Internet troll who, before leaving her job at the council in Newcastle, Delia was on the hunt for, as he was falsifying quotes from members of the council. Striking up a correspondence with The Naan, Delia soon finds herself with an Internet friend and also finds how easy it is to be more open and honest than you often are in real life. I enjoyed the scenes, or rather emails/texts between the two and it was definitely a fun and different way to tell the story. I also had a soft spot for Delia's brother Ralph, somewhat of a loner with childlike qualities there are some nice scenes between the siblings. Best friend Emma is also a fantastic character, to have that one friend you can turn to no matter what is very comforting for those that do and luckily Delia had Emma.

With everything going on, as I said the story never felt all that predictable and despite having an idea of two of where the story might go McFarlane throws more than one curveball to keep readers on their toes before taking them to what was a brilliant and very satisfying ending. Most books you finish, and move straight on to another one however the story and characters in this book were so good that I'm still thinking about them now. I was gutted when I reached the final page and wasn't ready to say goodbye. I'd love to read more about Delia in the future, in a full length novel or even as a cameo in a future book. This is easily one of the best chick lit books that I've read this year and one that I have no hesitation in recommending. I absolutely loved it.

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

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