It’s Not Me, It’s You: a novel by Mhairi McFarlane

How do you start again when everything falls apart?

It’s Not Me, It’s You follows the 35-year-old Delia Moss, whose life gets entirely fucked up during a short period of time. Not only does the proposal — ring and all — to Paul (her boyfriend for 10 years) gets rejected, Delia also finds out that he is cheating on her. To add her misery, Delia is also unemployed, which forces her to move back to her parents’ house at the age of 30-something. Pretty pathetic, isn’t it? Delia’s life turns upside down only in a couple of months; however, with the help of her best friend, Emma, she can eventually moves to London and occupies herself with a new PR (Public Relations) job. Life still isn’t all rosy perfect for Delia, though. She finds out that the PR job is sketchy as hell, while her new boss, Kurt, is a pervert. Along the way, she also meets with a guy named Adam who annoys the shit out of her, but — spoiler alert — becomes her boyfriend in the end. Since this is a chick-lit, Delia gets a happy ending. Although at first I didn’t expect much from this novel, it does have some good points. I used to wonder why most girls tend to like boys who don’t like them back, and Delia pretty much sums up the answer:

“Maybe a boy who was being half-hearted is why I wanted him so badly. How messed up is that? I knew I had to strive for him. I was so disillusioned about winning him over, I never considered if I wanted to be with someone who simply liked me without any additional convincing.”

I actually bought this book myself for only 30.000 rupiah — very cheap considering this is a 500-page English book. This novel might be 500 pages, but the font is huge. Basically, it’s such an easy read for beginners who want to learn English. It’s Not Me, It’s You is kind of different from any other romance chick-lit. The author herself, Mhairi McFarlane, feels so fed up with romance stories where the main character always ends up in a billionaire’s suite in New York or Paris; that’s why she created this heroine named Delia Moss. Delia is just like any other ordinary girls, such as you and me — she isn’t perfect, has flaws, is a bit overweight (like the body of other 89403902 women in the world), gets nervous all the time when some men harass/mock her, and is full of genuine emotions. The last point is very important, because most chick-lits show the character of an it-girl, who lacks emotions yet is still considered to be cool. Most of the time, people assume emotions as disgusting, irrelevant to be discussed. As cliche as this may sound, feelings and emotions are what make us human! What makes us unique, but somewhat relatable. WHAT MAKES US FEEL ALIVE. Assholes are those who are trying to make you feel bad just because you are a sensitive person, as if they themselves have zero emotions.

Anyway, back to Delia again. She feels insecure when she finds out her boyfriend for 10 YEARS cheats on her with someone prettier, younger, and skinnier than her. She goes from being overly-excited to propose Paul, to being genuinely miserable and confused. At first she is jaded, than she begins asking questions to Paul about the other woman, Celine. Paul asks,

My affair is the most revolting thing. Why torture yourself with the details? It doesn’t matter, none of it matters”

Delia then answers in such a bitter tone,

It matters, because it is the only way I can understand why you could do this. It’s such a mystery to me, how you went from ‘I do not fuck twenty-four-year-olds I meet in my bar’ to this affair right here”

 Right after Delia finally finds herself a new man, of course Paul visits her in London and begs for her to come back home. Despite acting manipulative towards Delia by cheating, Paul still wants her back.

The main story of It’s Not Me It’s You shows how a woman can still rebuild her life despite several failures and setbacks. Yes, she gets her heart-broken by an asshole, but who cares! She is still able to get herself a job and a man. The part about Adam being an undercover billionaire is completely unnecessary though; I don’t understand why every men in chick-lits always turns out to be ridiculously rich. Nevertheless, I can’t deny that I love reading trashy romance novels. You see, they are obviously way easier to digest when compared to other reading materials. When I was in high school, I would borrow a bunch of chick-lits and read them at home, giggling at the adorable scenarios between the main character and her love-interest. As an (almost) third-year university student, I don’t read much chick-lit now. My school surprisingly only offers classic novels, the ones with really difficult words and complex story-lines. I literally can’t find any chick-lit or trashy novels there!



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