Top positive review
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Sex, drugs... and low self-esteem
on 29 July 2014
I'm only a few years older than Bryony Gordon but this memoir of life as a 20-something London woman is both familiar and yet oddly discordant. The grotty flat-shares and exorbitant rents still stick in my mind, along with the parties and the relentless socialising - but, luckily, my friends and I were never so lacking in self-esteem that we descended to some of Gordon's depths.
This is being billed as a 'hilarious' real-life Bridget Jones - but the story told here is actually far sadder than that: completely dependent on other people's validation, Gordon sleeps with inappropriate men she doesn't even like, gets drawn into excessive drinking and drugs to suit someone else's idea of cool, and is so irresponsible with money that she is chased by bailiffs, and walks around with a Mulberry bag while existing off tortilla chips.
Amazingly, despite this, Gordon is a hugely sympathetic narrator mainly because of her self-deprecating and wryly savage assessments of her own younger self. I was hugely relieved for her that she's now settled down with a husband and child living the Clapham comfortable middle-class life which is all she's ever wanted.
So I found this more sad than hilarious that in the 21st century a young woman can still allow herself to be controlled by culturally-endorsed models: either the crazy party girl about town, or the Clapham-dwelling yummy mummy. Gordon writes with a mordant wit and is nicely non-judgmental, but I closed the book not completely sure that she has ever learned to love herself.