Reviewed by Emma Crowley
Carol is perfect… at least that’s what everyone thinks. In reality she’s sinking fast – her family treats her like their personal assistant and her boyfriend is so busy with work that he’s got her single-handedly running their relationship. Not that her job is any easier. As the only woman on the bank’s trading floor she spends twelve-hour days trying not to get sworn at or felt up by colleagues who put the "W" in banker.
How long can she go on pleasing everyone else before she snaps and loses it all?
There are some books that languish in your T.B.R pile waiting to be read for ages and you’re not quite sure what it is that is putting you off reading them. Then when you finally take the plunge and read the book you are left thinking – what took me so long to get going with this? Perfect Girl by Michelle Gorman was one of those books for me. I had never read anything by this author before and to be honest I just expected the usual run of the mill chick lit, a story that was light and fluffy and without any substance. But I am glad to say I was proved totally wrong, there is something for everyone in this book and I knew from the first chapter I was going to enjoy reading about the trials and tribulations facing Carol.
Carol as suggested by the title is the perfect girl or so she seems to be to those around her. She works in the tough, male dominated world of banking as an analyst. Her work colleagues treat her like a slave and the abuse and harassment hurled at her is unbelievable. Carol works extremely long hours every day and gets no praise or recognition for her efforts. Having just designed a programme that will help the bank she is really annoyed when she gets no credit in a press conference for its creation. How long can she cope in this pressure pot of a job before something gives and she explodes? Sometimes I feel the title and often the cover really don’t link in with the book but they definitely do in this case. The girl balancing on the tightrope suits the juggling and balancing act Carol is constantly going through.
Carol is constantly trying to please everyone be it in work or the demands from her boyfriend, family and on occasion her best friend Harriet. People count on Carol and in doing so certainly take advantage of her. She feels pulled in all directions. Despite Carol’s flaws I really did like her as a character perhaps because I felt I could relate to her in a small way and many other readers will feel the same. Too often we forget about ourselves in our quest to please others. Carol’s family took a lot out of her but these characters were all really well written providing lots of laugh out loud moments especially her mum and ‘adopted’ sister Zoe from France.
There were numerous times I was so angry with Carol and wanted to shout and scream at her. Why was she not standing up for herself and just saying no, allowing some time for herself to deal with her own problems instead of micro managing everyone else’s lives? She seemed to always feel the need to go above and beyond the call of duty with what was required of her. I felt Carol should have relaxed and been herself and not aspire to be the perfect partner, daughter, sister, best friend and work colleague. We can’t help others unless we are happy and contented in our own personal and professional lives. Only then can we begin to offer the help and support others may need.
My one and only complaint would be that there was a little too much technical jargon around trading and codes. I admit to speed reading through these sections as it held no interest for me. I know the author obviously did a lot of research into banking but the book didn’t need as much detail. The story flows at a great pace and before I read this in a day before I knew it I was hurtling towards the great conclusion. It takes a huge upset in work for Carol to see the light, this helps her realise what she has been doing for so many years in every aspect of her life. I won’t say what happens but suffice to say there are certain people who need their comeuppance and a good lesson to be learned. Do they get this? Well, you will just have to read Perfect Girl to find out.
Since finishing Perfect Girl , I have discovered there is a novella featuring what happens next with Carol called ‘Christmas Carol’ . I will certainly be purchasing this as I am eager to see how life has panned out for Carol , her family and friends.
Many thanks to Notting Hill Press for sending this to Sharon for review.