Review published on July 26, 2017.
There have been some great new writers emerging this year, particularly when it comes to refreshing, candid women’s fiction aimed at the so-called ‘millennial’ audience, and Lauren Berry, the founder of feminist magazine, KnockBack, most definitely joins those ranks with her debut, Living the Dream. Following the lives of best friends, Emma Derringer and Clementine Twist, as they negotiate some ups, but largely the downs of their lives as women in their late twenties, Berry offers a frank and acerbic look at the careers, relationships and friendships of this generation. There are plenty of funny moments as well as some more bawdy scenes in this generally witty book, but there are also surprisingly poignant and austere moments too, and Berry tackles head on both sexuality and abortion. Although admittedly there’s little in the way of ‘action’ in the novel, the book is expertly carried along by the characters and their humour and I rocketed through it enjoyably in a matter of hours. I suspect many female readers in their twenties and thirties in particular will engage naturally with the book, but I am not sure that its appeal will extend much outside of this target group and I imagine that it may be quite a divisive read. For me, it was a welcome breath of fresh air, a humorous and savvy read that’s very much a la mode. I think the book will have greater appeal as a personal read but it may be a fun alternative for open-minded reading groups. I, for one, will definitely be looking out for what is next for this debut author.
Jade Craddock 4/2
Living the Dream by Lauren Berry
Virago 9780349008981 hbk Jul 2017