I’m not usually a big fan of celebrity authors. I like reading the odd autobiography, like Michelle Obama’s Becoming, but when it comes to fiction, there aren’t many books written by celebrities that I have really enjoyed. However after hearing about Mel Geidroyc’s novel The Best Things, I decided to make an exception. After reading glowing reviews from the likes of Marian Keyes, Graham Norton and Sophie Kinsella, I was hoping it would be an enjoyable read. I do like Mel, she radiates warmth and positivity so I had high hopes for her novel.
Sally Parker lives a seemingly perfect life. With her successful husband, many friends, mansion and enviable wardrobe, she really seems to have it all. When their finances take a devastating hit, Sally and husband Frank soon find themselves penniless. Frank has lost their business, their home and their savings.
Quiet, and seemingly meek, Sally soon finds out she can’t rely on the people she thought she could. Her husband is having a breakdown, her friends aren’t as loyal as she hoped and her children have become feral. Now is the time for Sally to take control and surprise everyone. Especially herself.
Considering the reviews and Mel Giedroyc’s television persona, I was hoping for a funny, uplifting read. After all Jo Brand described it as “engaging, uproarious and gleeful”. However, for me, it just didn’t live up to expectations. It certainly wasn’t as funny as I’d hoped. The witty moments were few and far between and it actually felt quite bleak in places.
The characters were quite a cliched bunch. The spoiled, disloyal rich friends and the teenagers who were either a vacuous wannabe influencer or a child genius. I found the majority of the characters pretty unlikeable and so struggled to emphasise with any of them. Bronwyn was the most likeable character and I enjoyed her interactions the most. I found some of the dialogue between the characters to be quite unconvincing.
I liked that Sally finally grew a backbone and developed some confidence but I still found myself struggling to relate to her. I found her to be quite a frustrating character but perhaps that’s what the author intended.
It was a lighthearted read but for me it lacked any real depth or humour. I was hoping for at least one of the two. All in all I found it to a disappointing read, especially considering the glowing reviews.