EVERYTHING IS FINE
Written by Gillian Harvey
Published by Orion, May 28, 2020
My star rating – 4.5 stars
Jessica Bradley has it all: the perfect boyfriend; influential healthy-eating blog; successful PR company and wonderful daughter, Anna. Or at least that is what her thousands of followers believe.
The truth is, her boyfriend just broke up with her in four words on a post-it; her zest for healthy-eating has all but disappeared; her PR success is all reliant on her now not-so-honest online-life and she just got caught eating her daughter’s Coco-Pops.
So as they say: fake it ’til you make it. A few little white lies and phoney smiling selfies and Jess can keep up appearances. But when her real-life starts to spiral out of control how can Jess tell the truth from the lies? And will she be able to seize real happiness when it is right in front of her?
Have you ever read a synopsis and immediately knew that you HAD to read it…. even though you knew it would kick you right in the emotions and it was a little too close to your own reality? Yup, that’s me. Here I am.
Our main character Jessica seems to have everything. A huge social media following, a growing successful business, a pre-teen daughter, and a super hot boyfriend. But that’s only what she’s allowing social media to see. But the reality? Her boyfriend breaks up with her on a post it note, her healthy eating blog is a lie because she eats cookies, her gym photos are recycled from months ago because she put on weight, and her daughter seems to be growing ever more distant.
Over the past few months i’ve seen a lot of conversations about social media. 2020 was the year of social media for most of the world as it was our only way of communicating since we couldn’t leave our houses! But, for me anyway, it was also the year that I stepped back from social media…. for all the reasons that were in this book. Jessica is incredibly successful. She’s got thousands of followers, constantly gets sent free products and spa treatments, and it ended up leading to her starting up her own PR business. She took her social media following and made it into a career which was really smart! But she felt trapped in a lie. The way of living that she felt she had to portray wasn’t sustainable in the long run, so she found herself cheating and hiding behind her accounts. It’s SO easy to pick and choose the things that you show in your online persona. I think that most people (myself included) just want to focus on the happy and positive things that are going on in our lives. It’s like, if we post something about having a shitty day, then you’re putting others in a bad mood. So we paste fake smiles on our faces for a selfie and call it a day. But, on the inside, we may feel like we’re falling apart. It’s easy to see all these pictures of spotless houses, loving couples, elaborate vacations – and you’re sitting there wondering what you’re doing wrong and why you don’t have the things that others do. Oops! That was a bit of a rant that I didn’t intend lol.
I just LOVED how real this book was!! The pressures of social media and feeling the need to be someone that others will like. The pressures of being a good parent (because god knows, parenthood doesn’t come with an instruction manual!). The stresses of running a business and all the hours that the business needs, all the while balancing kids, home life, and, let’s hope, sanity. It’s a lot. A LOT! You can put a smile on your face and make it look like you’re doing it all. It’s so easy – I feel like Superwoman! But life isn’t picture perfect, I don’t care who you are! It’s messy. It’s exhausting. It’s stressful. And this book shows the mess behind the scenes in all its glory. Sometimes I found myself laughing or tearing up because I related so much with the main character. It was a little creepy sometimes actually!
On top of being real, this book was just hilarious! The humour in this book was right up my alley. There was an incident in chapter two involving bull semen (yes, you read that right) that had me laughing so hard that I scared my dog who was sleeping on my lap.
And the characters – ahhh! Jessica was your down to earth girl just trying to do her best. Her boyfriend, Dave, is the type of person that I literally wanted to punch in the nuts about 50 times throughout this book! We also meet a quiet and socially awkward author, and an eccentric artist that later gets dubbed “penis guy”. Everyone was so clear and vivid that I felt like I knew them, or could even pick out someone I knew in my own life that could mirror the character.
The themes of this book were just amazing. Friendships, relationships, co-parenting, motherhood, loving yourself, balancing work and personal life, needing approval and acceptance. I honestly feel like SO many people could relate to this book and find something in it to make them smile and feel better.
Literally the only thing that annoyed me in this book was the lack of communication. You know, that “over-the-top” lack of communication where if the main character would have just told the truth then it would save them chapters worth of problems in the long run? But it was almost from start to finish. I get it though. The whole point was that Jessica felt as though she couldn’t tell the truth as it would expose her as lies from what her online persona was saying. I really do understand why there was SO MUCH lack of communication. But it was just a little uncomfortable at times. I literally wanted to scream at her to just say something resembling the truth. It all rights itself eventually (you can’t hide for long), but yeah. That was a little annoying sometimes.
Seriously though, this book was incredible! I read it SO FAST! The characters were a delight, the story was incredibly relatable, and I loved being able to follow Jessica as she went from “having everything” to having love for herself and just being happy!
Until next time, happy reading!