When was the last time you put yourself first?
Thirty-eight-year-old divorcee Courtney Downey has no idea who she is any more. She has devoted her life to bringing up her beloved 15-year-old daughter Susan, but Courtney just doesn’t get the celebrity-obsessed, Snapchat-filtered teenage world Susan is part of, and they’re growing apart. When Susan announces she wants to live with her dad and his new, younger girlfriend, Courtney is devastated. But could the end of one life be the beginning of another?
When Courtney is offered a job in beautiful, sun-kissed Cornwall, she and her vivacious best friend Claire follow their hearts and leave their problems behind for a summer of sand, sea and second chances. And when she meets sexy but infuriating builder Tony, Courtney rediscovers her passions for life, for cooking and for love.
But just as Courtney is finally looking to the future, a crisis with Susan pulls her back to Dublin, and back into old habits. Will she ever be able to let go of the past and embrace the importance of being herself?
The Importance of Being Me is the latest novel from Irish author Caroline Grace-Cassidy and is another cracker of a read from her which explores the tricky period following a divorce, and the complicated relationships that ensue between ex-spouses but especially in this instance between single mum Courtney and her teenage daughter Susan.
As the blurb says Courtney is given a great opportunity at work which would involve moving away for a couple of months but it's a difficult decision to make as she has others to consider as well as herself. I have to admit that at first I really wanted to shake Courtney and get her to stand up for herself as she was letting everyone, especially Susan, treat her as a doormat. But this was a story of three parts which showed how sometimes we need to take a step back and take a look at our lives to re-evaluate what we want out of life.
Part one was an introduction to Courtney, her family and best friend Claire and how both Courtney and Claire came to be at this unhappy stage in their lives. But it took the death of a beloved family member for Courtney to finally stand up for herself and do something that she wants to do and not just to please others.
What follows was a metamorphosis of sorts as we follow Courtney's relocation to Cornwall where she fits right in with the lifestyle and rediscovers an old passion that gives her food for thought as to whether she could really start all over again at 38. But what would that mean for her relationship with her daughter if she doesn't return home?
At the same time we get a brief glimpse into the life of teenager Susan which explains why she was acting out the way she was. Not only was she having to cope with the after effects of her parents divorce, which makes her feel that she has to choose between her mam and her dad, but she's also desperately unhappy at school and suffering with lack of self-esteem due to the pressures of trying to fit in a modern day life that's filled with social media.
Another thought-provoking read that will make you realise that is OK to be selfish sometimes and take some time out to be you.
I'd like to thank Black & White Publishing for my review copy of The Importance of Being Me which I received via NetGalley.