Review: Everything Is Fine by Gillian Harvey (2020)

Everything Is Fine by Gillian Harvey

Blurb

Jessica Bradley has it all: the perfect boyfriend; influential healthy-eating blog; successful PR company and wonderful daughter, Anna. Or at least that is what her thousands of followers believe.

The truth is, her boyfriend just broke up with her in four words on a post-it; her zest for healthy-eating has all but disappeared; her PR success is all reliant on her now not-so-honest online-life and she just got caught eating her daughter’s Coco-Pops.

So as they say: fake it ’til you make it. A few little white lies and phoney smiling selfies and Jess can keep up appearances. But when her real-life starts to spiral out of control how can Jess tell the truth from the lies? And will she be able to seize real happiness when it is right in front of her?

Hilarious, heart-warming and oh-so relatable, Everything Is Fine is perfect for fans of Louise Pentland, Anna Bell and Lindsey Kelk.

Review

I am extremely grateful to the author for providing me with a digital copy in exchange for an honest review. This is not my typical genre, but if you are one of my regular followers (hi both!) you’ll know that I firmly believe in mixing things up when it comes to my reading. Variety is the spice of life, and all. With the weather turning grey and the relentless slog of 2020 madness showing no signs of letting up, the best thing to do is, of course, LAUGH.

I laughed A LOT while reading this book. I loved the way Jessica’s problems always seemed to begin as something utterly relatable and then gradually started to spin out of control and tumble into the realm of ridiculousness. The situations she finds herself in rival Bridget Jones herself for sheer farcical comedy value, but since much of the delight is in the element of surprise, I shan’t elaborate further. No spoilers here.

While the comedy in this novel is big, and the scenarios burst joyously against the seams of credibility, there are kernels of truth and poignancy which point to the fact that this is also a book with a big heart, and a sharp eye for the idiosyncratic ironies of modern life. It feels especially relevant to me as someone newly fumbling around the world of social media (not that I would ever consider myself an ‘influencer’ – as I have said before, I am at most a ‘tentative suggester’), but it is certainly the case that questions of how much to share of your true self online, or how different each version of our ‘selves’ can be, is one that plays on my mind, as I suspect it does with many of us. (My sister likes to tease me about my bookstagram pics of neat stacks on pristine mantelpieces, knowing full well, as she does, that behind me is a scene of utter chaos and carnage). Everything is Fine takes this idea to the extreme, tethering Jessica to a version of herself from which she she feels she cannot escape, and though there is a lot of humour to be derived from the disparity between her social media self and her IRL self, I think the author has really tapped into something that affects a lot of us, probably more than we care to admit.

But hey, let’s not get too serious here, this is supposed to be fun, after all. And it really is – complicated, messy, 21st century fun, with a cast of characters that each add sparkle and intrigue to Jessica’s story. I loved the portrayal of her daughter, Anna, and found the cosy home-spun wisdom of Jessica’s client, Remembering Rainbows author Robert, endearing and sweet. I don’t mind admitting I tried a couple of his tips out to cheer myself up. They do actually work. As for Dave, he deserves a thump, but you’ll have to read the book to find out why.

This was a lovely, quick read which lifted my spirits and made me laugh. And in 2020, you can’t say fairer than that.

Everything Is Fine by Gillian Harvey is published by Orion and is available to purchase here.

4 thoughts on “Review: Everything Is Fine by Gillian Harvey (2020)

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