"When you were 17, what did you think your life would be like when you hit 27?"It's been a while since I've been regular on the blog and I really, really miss it. I've been reading as much as I did all year... nothing can stop me from pouncing on a book and I've read some truly amazing books in the past month. It's been the kind of month when I've had days when I have been sleeping a lot (the so-called study holidays) and these other days when there are bags under my eyes and I would nod off if it weren't for the endless supply of Coca Cola and Dairy Milk (end-Semester exam week).
At 17, Rachel Hill was the girl most likely to succeed. At 27, with an Honours degree and a career as a travel writer, she wonders if marriage is the only thing missing from this perfect trifecta. But one disastrous life decision changes everything. Suddenly she is living back at home in her childhood bedroom - a room still celebrating 1987. She's also working as a nanny for a surly six-year-old, proof-reading erotic fiction and crucifying movie themes on the piano. With Su-su-sudio in the cassette deck, Rachel tumbles head first into a quarter-life crisis. As she revisits her idea of perfection, she finds that happiness is living the life you want to live, rather than the one you're expected to.
I curled up with The Girl Most Likely by Rebecca Sparrow on a rainy day, wanting, more than anything, to take a break from real life. I couldn't have asked for a better comfort read. I had already met seventeen year old Rachel Hill in The Year Nick McGowan Came to Stay (my review) (can you believe that TYNGCTS was written after The Girl Most Likely? Meaning, technically, I'd read this one out of order) almost a year back. Which made it hard to believe twenty-seven-year-old-Rachel's state of affairs.
Twenty-seven-year-old Rachel Hill is seventeen year old Prefect Rachel gone wrong. A failed marriage causes her to spiral out of control as she quits her job as an editor in a prestigious travel magazine, is house sitting for her parents and spends her days eating too many cartons of Froot Loops while babysitting a misunderstood six year old. Her desperate attempts to regain control over her life and retain perfection go hilariously wrong... in a foot-in-the-mouth, self esteem depending on her ability to master a movie theme song on the piano kind of way. And it feels like everything is falling apart...
...when really, it isn't.
And that, really, is the core of why I loved The Girl Most Likely so much.
Rachel Hill is all grown up... there is no doubt about that. Of course it was simpler when she was seventeen year old Rachel, the Girl Most Likely to Succeed. And when her marriage that her parents had no idea about fails, she can automatically feel herself spiraling out of control... Girls like her weren't meant to be living at their parent's house and handling a divorce. Girls like her aren't supposed to veg out in front of the television, struggling to get through each day. She sees herself as a failure through her seventeen year old self's eyes and that itself feels like the biggest failure of all.
But as she gets acquainted with Matt, her neighbour who gives her piano lessons and her best friend Zoe is not one to leave her alone... Rachel realises that maybe it's not all about picture perfection. Maybe perfection is overrated. And the lengths at which the author goes to drive this point home makes it an amazing read.
I haven't laughed or cried as much in ages as I did while reading this book. Aside from learning so much from Rachel's quarter-life crisis... I loved how her journey felt so genuine, so heart wrenching that if I could, I would've wanted to be there for her. The fact that I read The Year Nick McGowan Came To Stay first, in which Rachel is all goody goody yet endearing, made me feel particularly empathetic and like I had truly known her for a long time.
Zoe Budd, Rachel's best friend, is as hilarious as she was in TYNMGCTS. I also think there's more to her in this book and I feel like overall, I know her better. Matt, the sexy neighbour next door, could not endear himself more to me and Alex, the six year old Rachel babysits, was tough and interesting. I could understand how Rachel wanted Alex to like her... especially when Alex made it really difficult.
This is the perfect book to read if you are going through any sort of a meltdown or even if you just want to have some fun. You're going to laugh your heart out, introspect and sob like a baby before bursting into helpless giggles again. You're not going to want to leave these characters... as they are made of awesome. What can I say... like TYNMGCTS, The Girl Most Likely gave me the warm-fuzzies and urged me to look beyond perfection and just enjoy the journey!
Final note: Another Aussie gem that was plain b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l! I'd strongly advise reading The Year Nick McGowan Came to Stay before this one, though!
Publication date: 1st March, 2003
Publisher: University of Queensland Press, Australia
Links: Amazon| Goodreads | The Book Depository
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars