Monday, 17 November 2014

Guest Book Review: Mhairi McFarlane - It's Not Me, It's You

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

Delia Moss isn’t quite sure where she went wrong. 

When she proposed and discovered her boyfriend was sleeping with someone else – she thought it was her fault. 

When she realised life would never be the same again – she thought it was her fault. 

And when he wanted her back like nothing had changed – Delia started to wonder if perhaps she was not to blame… 

From Newcastle to London and back again, with dodgy jobs, eccentric bosses and annoyingly handsome journalists thrown in, Delia must find out where her old self went – and if she can ever get her back. 

Amazon links: Kindle or Paperback

It’s Not Me It’s You is the third novel from Mhairi MacFarlane but the first book I have read by this author. I had heard lots of great things about Mhairi and her previous novels and this new book seemed to be eagerly awaited by lots of people. I did think the book was well written and had a good range of characters and plotlines. It was full of humour, wit, jokes and numerous laugh out loud moments but I felt it was way too long. Normally that is a good thing in a book as you want something you are hooked on to last forever but I admit to flagging by the end as it was too drawn out and by that stage I wasn’t that intrigued to find out the outcome of the story despite having invested a long time reading about the characters and their troubles. 

It’s Not You It’s Me introduces us to Delia Moss who works for the Newcastle council as the city press officer. She has being going out with her boyfriend Paul Rafferty for a number of years and they seem to have settled into a routine of domesticity. Delia feels the need to move the relationship forward instead of becoming stuck in a rut that will become hard to get out of. So she decides to take matters into her own hands and proposes to Paul. Paul reluctantly accepts and they go to a bar to celebrate where Paul sends a text message meant for someone else but it mistakenly ends up being sent to Delia. In the message Paul has said he doesn’t know what to do about Delia’s proposal. 

Here is literally when Delia’s world falls apart as she finally uncovers the truth that Paul has been having an affair with a younger girl called Celine who is attending college. The scene where Delia confronts Paul at home is really powerful and full of emotion; Delia shows us her strength and true character as all her rage and upset comes out. Delia makes a brave decision and decides to leave Newcastle and move to London to live with her best friend Emma Berry to try and overcome the hurt and anger she feels. It is a brave decision for anyone to uproot from everything they have known and move to a totally new setting, Delia even has to leave her beloved rescue dog Parsnip behind. I loved Parnsip and liked how further into the book he really did have a crucial part to play.

There are numerous plotlines within the overall story including the online presence of Peshwari Naan who is leaving nasty comments on the council website. Also we have Delia’s brother Ralph who spends most of his time in his bedroom playing computer games and Delia’s new job doing PR for a company called Twist and Shout owned by the creepy Kurt. Some of these plotlines went into way too much detail like the suspicious activity surrounding Delia’s boss even though this does help Delia to meet journalist Adam West. I felt this story became too confusing intermixed with the other stories, whereas Ralph deserved a lot more development, there seemed to be something there that could have been explained further and I think he should have had a more central role.

Delia navigates the ups and downs of London life while interspersed throughout the book are cartoons of The Fox - a character she created when she was really young to help her through difficult times. I liked this element and felt it was a relief at times from what was going on overall in the story. There is so much going on in this book that I could be talking about it for ages. It is worth reading to discover what happens to Delia does she forgive Paul or can she create her own new life away from someone who really doesn’t appreciate her and does she solve the unusual activity that her boss Paul is up to?

Yes, Mahiri MacFarlane writes really well and there were plenty of lines which were just pure comedy gold or else held such great sentiment and meaning that I was compelled to write them down for future reference. If I had been hooked by this book I would have finished it in a day or two instead it was over six days before I finally completed it. Overall its length and maybe the frame of mind I was in when reading this book left me feeling unsatisfied and wondering whether I would try something else written by this author in the future.

I'd like to thank Emma for reviewing this eBook which we received from the publisher via NetGalley.

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