4 September 2008

Book Review: A Good Girl Comes Undone by Polly Williams

She's on a roll. A glamorous job at a glossy magazine. A home of her own. A cute live-in boyfriend. Annie Rafferty has worked damn hard for all of it. If demands are made, she delivers. If people need her, she's there. And if she suspects something is missing? Well, she ignores it. 

But cracks start to appear. Her boyfriend leaves his job, and Annie paying the bills. Work descends into a handbags-at-dawn struggle for survival, and there's a new exec in the office - rude, opinionated but strangely attractive - questioning exactly what she's trying to prove. As Annie discovers her true desires, her meticulously planned life begins to unravel and darker, unexpected forces pull things in a shocking new direction . . . 

Sometimes you have to lose everything to get what you really want. 

As soon as I started this book, I knew that I was going to really enjoy it. It was much more along the style of her fantastic debut which I just couldn't put down with likeable characters, a great story and a brilliant first person narrative which just draws you into the story immediately and without taking too much time to warm up and really get going. Williams narrative is very engaging, a friendly voice which is fun and easy to read, without being too ridiculous in any aspect. As was the case in her previous novels, we are also introduced to the other 2 main characters within the first chapter, given a really good outline of the main character herself and a stonking first chapter which makes a great start to the book.

Williams has a knack for writing great characters which are realistic, funny and endearing to the reader. She knows what demographic are going to be reading her books, which is generally going to be woman aged between 18-40 years old, and thus makes her characters appeal well to the this range. The main character of Annie is a career-girl, proud of her job and proud of working her way through the ranks, loves her boyfriend and their brand new house, and also loves her family. She's got it all, and despite this, she's a lovely character who isn't at all unlikeable. She talks about her job at length in a funny humourous way, and you can really visualise her workplace and the characters there as well. The other characters are also well written, from her out-of-work boyfriend Nick who seems to resent Annie for having a job she loves, to her hopelessly in love sister Georgia who crashes at Annie's house after her latest love crisis.

The book goes along at a great pace, throwing you in at the deep end with Annie and Nick, and then moving along as their life continues and their roles chop and change. Williams has grasped human emotion fantastically in this book, from Annie's exasperation at Nick's lack of motivation through to Nick's annoyance at being nagged to get a job, and even to Annie and Georgia's parents, particularly their father who wants the best for his girls and will speak his mind to Nick about not having a job! She's created a great balance of humour within the story, mainly based around the offices of Glo! and Annie's job there, and also love, sorrow and confusion. Williams explores these throughout the book in a gentle way which is in keeping with the storyline, and never too heavy either.

The book is a great read, and I just wanted to keep reading it to find out what was going to happen to Annie and how things were all going to turn out. Williams has this talent of making you want to read on, engrossing you with the story and the characters, giving you twists and turns along the way as well to keep things fresh. Her narrative is a joy to read, with great descriptive writing, yet very realistic narrative as well, endearing you to the main character fantastically well, so you feel you almost know her! I loved the story, although it sounds like it may not be the happiest, it is an uplifting book which is a fun and fantastic read for anyone who loves a great story of change, love and finding yourself somewhere you didn't expect. 

Rating: 5/5

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