Don’t You Forget About Me – Mhiari Mcfarlane
Sorry, I just can’t even think about the title without thinking of the Simple Minds and that scene at the end of the Breakfast Club when Judd Nelson punches the air. Good times. Even better times is the fact that this book deserves to be up there with the Breakfast Club and the classic song by the Simple Minds. Yes really. That satisfied feeling you get at the end of the Breakfast Club is the same as the warm, satisfied feeling you get at the end of this. I genuinely loved it!
Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to rise again…
The hilarious new heartbreaker from Mhairi McFarlane!
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…
This is the best Mhairi Mcfarlane book I’ve read.
I mean to be fair, it is only the second one, but it is leagues ahead of my previous experience. I received a copy of this via Netgalley and when they offered it to me, I figured, you know what, this has a Breakfast Club reference in the title and I’m ready to give her another go, I wanted to know what the fuss was about when it comes to Mhairi Mcfarlane, so many people I know love her and after my last experience, I didn’t know why. Now I do. I am so glad I accepted Netgalley’s offer and that I read it because I bloody loved this.
Look, there isn’t anything new about this book particularly, even with my limited experience of her books, I can say with some confidence that Mhairi Mcfarlane is the queen of writing sassy, intelligent women who aren’t happy with their lot in life. This is no different.
Our heroine, Georgina, is having a bit of a crisis of confidence. She was a promising student who was smart, witty, funny and had a lot going for her. Only here she is; thirty, out of work after another ‘tide you over’ job putters out, single and trying to reconcile who she is and how she got here. Her family, though they love her, views her as a hot mess and they’re not afraid to make this known. And honestly, at the point we meet Georgina, she would be inclined to agree with them. Then a chance meeting reconnects her with her teenage boyfriend, only he doesn’t seem to remember her at all (Or does he? DUN DUN DUN) and through seeing him again, she is forced to directly look at and deal with her past and start to move towards being something akin to happy.
Here’s the thing, the last Mhairi Mcfarlane book I read was a real non story, there was a girl who liked a boy and he was dating someone else and the whole book was about her kind of just falling apart because they weren’t together but people talked about her. And I was like, what? What is this? This book though, this book was like meeting an old friend and getting a big hug, it was warm and endearing, it had substance and most importantly, I laughed and welled up in equal measure. Georgina was a great main character, her group of friends were interesting and likable and her family were so real. I could feel her frustration with her step dad and her despair over Lucas, I loved every word of it.
Look, normally, a story where a woman only realises what’s wrong in her life after a man enters it would fill me with rage fire, but that’s the beauty of Mhairi Mcfarlane’s story telling here, Georgina and Lucas running into each other after all these years might be her motivation but it all comes from Georgina and her willingness to finally let it go and to move on. Even though this is about Georgina and Lucas and you spend the second half of the book just wishing they would get together, this is a very modern book, it deals with toxic relationships, not just with significant others, but also with family. It explores how women are poorly treated at the hands of men and there are a lot of instances where you are feeling sad and angry on Georgina’s behalf, even if it is told in a humourous and light hearted way. While there is a romance in this (and dear God, I shipped it. Hard.) this isn’t a boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy and girl sort themselves out, this is about noticing red flags, complex families and growing old as gracefully or disgracefully as you like.
I don’t think there are enough stars in the world to express how much I loved this.
Now, which Mhairi Mcfarlane book should I read next?