The Girl Most Likely
Copy received as a gift
At 17, Rachel was voted the girl most likely to succeed. Ten years later it seems she is anything but. She might have an honours degree and have honed out a career as a travel writer but now she’s back living in her childhood bedroom at her parent’s home. She’s working as a nanny to a 6yo who doesn’t seem to like her that much. In her childhood belongings, she’s found a list of things she wanted to achieve by 28. There’s only one thing on the list that she seems set to be able to achieve in the few weeks until her birthday so she sets about trying to learn a movie theme on the piano. Except she’s more crucifying it than learning it.
That’s where neighbour Matt comes in. He can hear Rachel bashing out the tune day after day and Rachel thinks he’s mocking her when she hears him playing it perfectly. But then Matt offers to help her she accepts and they begin spending quite a bit of time with each other. They’re just friends – even if everyone seems to believe that it’s more. Even if Matt seems to be infiltrating most aspects of her life. Even if she wonders occasionally about it being a little more. But there’s the blond woman she’s seen coming out of his house to consider. There’s no doubt Matt is keeping things from her. But Rachel can’t really say much because she’s keeping a big secret from Matt as well. From everybody.
I received this book a couple of years ago after I won a sweepstakes where all the participants had to send the winner a book. It’s sat on my shelf ever since until the other day when I decided I wanted something quick and funny to fill in a few hours and thought this would be a good choice. Although it was certainly a quick read, unfortunately for me, I didn’t find it all that funny.
Rachel is 27 and has moved back into her parent’s house, into her old bedroom after she quit her job. She was supposed to go join her partner in California after she quit her job but between that and her leaving, he basically told her not to bother so now she is not only jobless but alone and also forced to live back with her parents. Luckily they’re off to visit her sister in London so she is basically living there alone for a while, wallowing in her new singleness and joblessness, eating terrible food and not showering. A lot of her misery seems based on a list that she constructed 10 years ago when she was 17 about things she wanted to achieve before being 28. If I’d read this book at 17, I might’ve had more sympathy for Rachel. But I’m five years older than her and honestly, she’s still got so much time ahead of her to accomplish things. I was irritated with her, for keeping this stupid secret that she had. She hadn’t even told her parents about it. I don’t know if she’s embarrassed about it or just doesn’t know how to tell them that she had done this thing without them there, or them knowing about it. She builds it up so much inside her head that it becomes pretty ridiculous. And when she becomes close with Matt, she finds out a secret he has kept from her and she gets furious at him. They make a pact of ‘no more secrets’ which is the perfect time for Rachel to spill hers, yes? No. She keeps it to herself and you know there’s only one way that can go.
Matt is not a character I could warm too. He kind of insinuates himself into Rachel’s life in a way that’s vaguely creepy. Okay it’s pretty creepy actually. Their interactions are awkward and full of misunderstandings and Matt is at times, reminiscent of a child with some sort of attention span problem. They bond over their love of eighties TV trivia, which is a bit before my time, I was too young for most of those shows when they were airing and to be honest, most of them haven’t held up too well in this era. I couldn’t really get behind the fledgling romance, although to be honest, it’s probably better than they end up with each other than be inflicted onto other people!
All in all…. Just not a book I really enjoyed. It was okay but I couldn’t really consider myself invested in any of the characters or their outcomes. Some of the side plots were a bit silly too, like the Miss Brisbane Awards, the erotic fiction stuff and Rachel’s awkward interactions with an author she admires. Okay, that’s pretty much all of them.
Book #136 of 2014
This is book #51 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2014