I love chick-lit. There, I said it. Chick-lit books are the rom-coms of the literary world, and thus, unsurprisingly, I love them. Sure, sometimes you want to read something a little more gritty, maybe even something that’ll make you question your existence and the meaning of life if you’re that way inclined, but I for one think there’s nothing wrong with reading something purely for entertainment – especially on a summer holiday.
This is my view right now (drafting a blog from my phone, natch), and ever since I first stumbled across Plum Sykes’ Bergdorf Blondes after it was left behind in the holiday house we were staying in yeeeaaars ago, I’ve craved chick-lit as my poolside indulgence on an annual basis. And coconut, but that’s another matter. Step in, Lindsey Kelk. She is an author whose novels are funny, feel-good and just a little bit frothy – AKA poolside perfection. A few summers ago, I read Kelk’s I Heart New York because it was free with Glamour mag, and since then I’ve devoured the rest of the I Heart series. (Check them out if you haven’t read them!) Bring on the next one, I Heart Christmas. So when I picked up Kelk’s latest book, About A Girl, I had no worries about whether or not I’d enjoy it, despite not following Angela, the heroine of the I Heart series.
In Angela’s place, we have Tess. Just as lovable, just as hilarious. I think the trick to writing a good story may just be creating a protagonist people can relate to, and I found that was certainly the case with Tess – from her need to plan every aspect of her life to her career devotion (sidestepping her Wotsits addiction. Or maybe just replacing it with Nutella. Mmm Nutella.) Ever on the lookout for work experience (vicarious or otherwise), I always enjoy reading books that give an insight into interesting industries, and in About A Girl, we get tasters of the worlds of advertising, photography and fashion journalism. I like this. If you’re anything like me, you’ll also look for a hefty dose of glamour and luxury in your holiday read, and Kelk definitely delivers on that front. Along with Tess, readers are whisked off to a tropical paradise, just perfect for a spot of summer escapism.
The novel follows Tess, a workaholic from London in her late 20s. She’s been stuck in a bit of a rut for some time, same job, same boy troubles… You get the picture. So when Tess gets the opportunity to go a little cray cray, practically steal her awful flatmate’s (anyone else also relate to that ingredient?) identity and run off to the sun for an exciting adventure, she takes it. Quite frankly, I wish I could do that myself. Le sigh. About A Girl has all the characters you’d expect in a rom-com: the loveable-if-less-than-perfect heroine, the melodramatic-but-fabulous gay friend, the hot-and-exotic new man, the old-guy-friend-Tess-has-been-in-love-with-since-uni, the wise old man, the glamorous fashion shoot director, the scatty best friend, the catty sisters, the aforementioned bitchy flatmate, the pushy mother… And plenty more.
Sure, there are some aspects of the storyline that are a little predictable, but that’s always the case, isn’t it? And, interestingly, I was kept guessing which guy Tess would end up with throughout the book, which isn’t always the case with a lot of similar books. What I love most about Kelk’s writing is how readable it is. Almost like having a chat with your best friend. Equally, I’m a big fan of all the pop culture references – One Direction were mentioned on the third page. Nuff said. I think references like that add to the witty, current, approachable nature of About A Girl. While it won’t be my mums cup of tea (and definitely not my dad’s!) I loved About A Girl and would thoroughly recommend it for young ladies comme moi. If you want a spot of funny, exciting, glamorous entertainment while topping up your tan (or at least something to hide behind while people-watching), About A Girl is a good way to go.