A Good Girl Comes Undone, By Polly Williams

They say you should never judge a book by its cover but, let’s be honest, everyone does. Give me a shiny cover and some swirly flowers, and if it’s reduced to only 99p, as this one was, I’ll buy it. A good girl comes undone (lowercase necessary) was just one of these impulse well-I-like-the-cover-and-it’s-really-cheap buys.

Annie Rafferty is a go-getting, no-nonsense, hard working career girl, with a successful long-term boyfriend and a deputy editor’s job at Glo magazine. So far, so flashy. But Glo is really rubbish, and when her boyfriend quits his job to ‘find himself’ and turns into a small child again, so is he. What follows is Annie’s struggle to get ahead with her career, support her lackluster other half, and hold together her failing family. All this is complicated still further by the appearance of a new magazine exec at Glo who is powerfully built and grizzly… Can you see what’s coming?

Of course you can, but that’s pretty much standard fare for chick lit. What sets this book apart is that it’s in-depth and personal. No decisions are made easily or flippantly on behalf of the heroine and watching her trying to hold together the various crumbling pieces of her seemingly perfect life is painful. Forced to face the realisation that she’s chosen the wrong career, Annie’s struggle to come to terms with the choices she’s made is poignant and, at times, almost heart-breaking.

To be honest, the girly, flowery, gold and swirly cover and the shoes on the spine undersell this book in that it isn’t just a pretty, flippant read. The title and insistence on lowercase imply, in my opinion, a lack of substance and relegates this book to be judged as a trashy, easy read. While I’m having a dig at the cover design, nowhere does the book mention flower garlands, butterflies, and the emaciated legs on the cover go entirely against the emphasis Polly Williams (lowercase sarcastically necessary) puts on having an average size, slightly galumphing heroine.

This may sound somewhat hypocritical of me since the cover was one of the reasons I bought the book, but the main reason was the price it was reduced to. I would not have paid more than 99 pence for a book with this cover, since my expectations of the book were so different to how it really turned out. Bloody good book, though.

Katherine Holt is a recently graduated illustration student from Yorkshire, England. When not reading she spends her time penning short and full length fiction under the pen name of ‘Miss H. writes’, as well as reviewing books for various magazines. Examples of her work can be found at www.misshwrites.co.uk.