My Not So Perfect Life

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Kinsella, Sophie

A New York Times Bestseller! Everywhere Katie Brenner looks, someone else is living the life she longs for, particularly her boss, Demeter Farlowe. Demeter is brilliant and creative, lives with her perfect family in a posh townhouse, and wears the coolest clothes. Katie's life, meanwhile, is a daily struggle -- from her dismal rental to her oddball flatmates to the tense office politics she's trying to negotiate. No wonder Katie takes refuge in not-quite-true Instagram posts, especially as she's desperate to make her dad proud.Then, just as she's finding her feet -- not to mention a possible new romance -- the worst happens. Demeter fires Katie. Shattered but determined to stay positive, Katie retreats to her family's farm in Somerset to help them set up a vacation business. London has never seemed so far away -- until Demeter unexpectedly turns up as a guest. Secrets are spilled and relationships rejiggered, and as the stakes for Katie's future get higher, she must question her own assumptions about what makes for a truly meaningful life.

Discussion Guide: 

1. Describe Katie Brenner. Are there aspects of her life you relate to…as someone unsure in her job…or worried about social acceptance…or dissatisfied with the path her life has taken?

2. When Katie moves to London, she tries to erase her not so posh background, which includes altering both her name and accent. Would you describe her actions as those of a phony? Or is she a pragmatist, doing what it takes to make it in a class-conscious society?

3. What does the title suggest in terms of one of the book's central themes. How is life never quite so perfect as we would wish? Whose life is not so perfect in the novel?

4. Describe Demeter. What do you think of her? Does she remind you, say, of Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada? Is she overly stereotyped, or have you known people like her?

5. When Katie leaves Cooper Clemmow, she accuses Demeter and Alex of entitlement, making the point that the trajectory of their careers was made easier by their life circumstances. Is that a fair accusation to make? Does what Katie learn later about the two of them dispell the charge of "entitlement"? Have you ever thought about your own entitlement…or your lack of it? Is there such a thing as entitlement?

6, Alex. Discuss.

7. What does Katie learn about Demeter when she comes to Anster Farm? How do her husband and children seem to relate to her…and she to them? Why does she cry as she nuzzles Carlo the horse—what are those tears about?

8. Consider the "big-sister" talk that Katie has with Coco. What do both Coco and Hal learn about their mother. What, in fact, does Katie learn about Demeter?

9. Ultimately, what does Katie learn about herself and the things that matter most in life?

10. Is My Not So Perfect Life funny? If so, what passages are particularly humorous or display Katie's witty insights?

(Questions by LitLovers.)