Mhairi McFarlane comes to the blog with a story of growth and missteps, full of laughs, tears and plenty of heart in
Don’t You Forget About Me
Georgina is a people pleaser, a particularly solid trait to have when you have had every serving job possible, from barmaid to waitress at the most incongruous ‘Italian’ restaurant in town. When a critic comes in and things become more fraught, a stand-off with the boss/cook leave her without a job and a desperate need to spend some time with her clever stand-up comic boyfriend. But arriving at his flat, her phone calls to him are ignored – she watches this – and uses her key to enter his apartment – where she finds him in a compromising position. Georgina, being who she is leaves, but not before her ex tries to gaslight her, turning the tables as if his lack of control is down to her actions.
Not exactly the most flattering light to meet the heroine, and in a mix of flashback and current narration, her voice shows us just how insecure and issue-laden she is. Always hoping for better, her jobless state is an “issue” for her mother and sister, and her mother’s new husband is displaying issues that rattle both Georgina and her sister, even as our heroine can’t apply the sight to her own life. But her sister’s husband gives her a referral to a recently renovated Victorian pub, a one-night gig that will help put some cash in her pocket while she’s between yet another of the low-paying and certainly no-future jobs she seems to take. Turns out, her first true love in 6th form is one of the brothers that owns the pub, and while he isn’t welcoming or mentions that he knows her, his brother offers her the job on a permanent basis.
With Georgina still reeling from her boyfriend’s infidelity, her first love’s seeming amnesia about who she is, her mother, stepfather and sister all bemoaning her ‘career choices’, fashion and well – just about everything: she’s not immune to the struggles. In fact, smart and quite kind, Georgina is mired in her own old unresolved issues, from missing her father to feeling unworthy and worrying all about her desire to write while actually not doing anything about it. Starting off with her as a mess held together with bits of band-aids, a bright smile and funky pink coat, with the help of her friends, some honesty from her first love and a bit of oomph from sharing her story in a 3 part contest, Georgina starts to pull herself together and deal with issues that she not only stuffed away, but never mentioned. Failing to “read’ people’s interest or reaction to her after a particularly tragic incident just as she was finishing school, what she really needed was to sort things out for herself and discover why she was, despite her potential, languishing with ‘go nowhere’ jobs.
Mhairi McFarlane has the ability to write a heroine that while intriguing, could quickly become wholly annoying and not dive over the line to active dislike. Georgina was clearly beset with issues that started with the tensions between her parents and her close tie to her father, her relationship with her sister, and her ability to quickly ‘judge’ just what someone would want or need from her to keep them happy. Afraid of conflict, and perhaps afraid of actually ‘digging’ into her own issues, the growth trajectory for Georgina made her one of those people who finds (with support ) the way to a happier and more fulfilled life – and gets a chance to revisit the past in new ways previously thought lost. Full of moments both sweet and bittersweet, with a dash of laughter and several tears, this is a story that feels as if the life we are learning of is entirely possible – that friends come in packages so different yet so invested in supporting you through it all that there is a palpable honesty and familiarity in the story and the characters.
Title: Don't You Forget About Me
Author: Mhairi McFarlane
Genre: British, Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Family Saga, Friendship, Grief, Romantic Elements, Second Chance, Setting: Britain
Published by: William Morrow
Published on: 10 September, 2019
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Audio Length: 10 Hours: 17 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Google ♦Audible ♦Direct from Publisher
Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to rise again…
If there’s one thing worse than being fired from the grottiest restaurant in town, it’s coming home early to find your boyfriend in bed with someone else.
Reeling from the indignity of a double dumping on the same day, Georgina snatches at the next job that she’s offered – barmaid in a newly opened pub, which just so happens to run by the boy she fell in love with at school: Lucas McCarthy. And whereas Georgina (voted Most Likely to Succeed in her school yearbook) has done nothing but dead-end jobs in the last twelve years, Lucas has not only grown into a broodingly handsome man, but also has turned into an actual grown-up with a business and a dog along the way.
Meeting Lucas again not only throws Georgina’s rackety present into sharp relief, but also brings a dark secret from her past bubbling to the surface. Only she knows the truth about what happened on the last day of school, and why she’s allowed it to chase her all these years…
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: