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    Finding Yourself

    3.5 Stars Alice Edwards is having a crisis - just turned 30 and has lost her job, her flat and her best friend. fortunately she has some inheritance put by that she was saving towards a house deposit but seeing as her whole life is crumbling she decides that she is going to emulate her favourite Blogger, Constance Beaumont, and go on her travels to "find herself". So, after a disastrous 30 birthday dinner that sees her hiding under the table in a very drunken state and texting her ex Dan (TD) she sets up a travel blog on AWOL.com and sets off for 3 months of adventure. Alice has it all planned out; one month in LA, followed by a month in Thailand and then she will see where the fancy takes her for her last month. Initially I really couldn't take to Alice. She comes across as completely self-absorbed and unable to see anyone else's point of view. She refuses to discuss the declining health of Steve, her stepfather, with brother Mark; is completely estranged from her mother and generally treats her friends like dirt. Even when she meets up with aspiring actress Isy in LA, a friend from way back, you get the impression that Alice is entitled. There is no warm reconciliation or joy at being there in the flesh instead of over Skype. Everything is about her and it isn't funny, it grates. Honestly, if this is life for a 30 year old woman these days I am so glad that I am Gen-X. I did enjoy the juxtaposition between the blog posts where everything is sunshine and lollipops with the ramblings of Alice as she goes through the day. Actually, some of the snarky responses to her blog posts are the funniest bits (but even they didn't make me laugh out loud). Each chapter starts with some made up, life is so perfect post to Alice's blog and then goes on to see the reality behind that post. This is pretty much what you would expect - Alice lurching from disaster to disaster and occasionally hooking up. The LA month seems to drag on interminably. Isy gets tickets for them to attend a second rate award show, where Alice makes a complete idiot of herself. Alice has a disastrous Uber ride with a 3.5 driver who could turn in to something more. Alice manages to ruin everything with Mr 3.5 by dragging her Airbnb host along to outings with them. The best bit has to be the workshop she attends in the name of wanting to experience being recruited to a cult - sheathology is genuinely hilarious (and probably a thing). By the time she is ready to leave LA for Thailand she has fallen out of touch with Eva - Alice, it seems, is too busy to Skype her best friend and flatmate or even really respond to her texts. She is driving her brother Mark ever so slightly mad with her evasiveness and still isn't speaking to her sister Hannah - who writes the single weirdest family newsletters imaginable. So things go until Alice gets her epiphany in Thailand and you realise that that you know exactly where she is going to spend that third month. Of course, you know this from when the trip is first planned, that ultimately Alice will realise she is bordering on being a monster and that she needs to let go of her perceived hurts (yes, they very much are perceived as we find out) and reconnect with her friends and family. It was an okay read and I did start to warm to Alice towards the end. I just found some of her choices and self-rationalisations for those choices to be entirely cringy. There is a certain humour in the book but most of it is at the expense of someone (usually Alice) rather than just being funny. It also didn't make me laugh out loud, a mental titter on occasion but nothing more. A good read for your holidays as it is light and frivolous so easy to pick up and put down by the poolside.
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