I was so lucky to meet Claire Frost at the spring blogger evening run by the inimitable Sara-Jade Virtue of Books and the City @TeamBATC for Simon and Schuster (you can read about that event here) and am delighted to be reviewing her novel Living My Best Li(f)e today.
Living My Best Li(f)e is out in ebook on 23rd July and paperback on 5th September and is available for pre-order here.
Living My Best Li(f)e
This heart-warming and funny novel is the perfect balm for the insta-weary mind – get ready to shatter the illusion that is #LivingMyBestLife
Bell never thought she’d be facing her 40th birthday single. Recently dumped by her boyfriend of ten years, Bell is struggling to move on with her life – and surrender the fleecy pyjamas she’s been living in since January. Sick of being bombarded by #blessed on social media and feeling like her life doesn’t live up to everyone else’s, she decides it’s time for a change; time to find out who she really is, not who she thinks she should be.
Enter Millie, a successful online influencer posting under the handle @mi_bestlife. But as a single mum trying to make ends meet and stay ahead of the younger generation snapping at her heels, her Instagram feed is far more #BestLiethan #BestLife. With the internet trolls continuing to bring her down and an ex who cares more about playing football than seeing their son, Millie begins to wish her life was more like her filters.
It isn’t until Millie and Bell’s paths cross that the two women begin to realise what they’re missing. Will Bell finally learn to live life for herself? And will Millie see that she needs to start living for the moment and not for the likes?
My Review of Living My Best Li(f)e
Bell and Millie have more in common than they might think.
Oh my goodness, Living My Best Li(f)e made me feel old! The references to social media and the way in which it dominates and shapes our perception of life had me nodding my head in agreement like some kind of old curmudgeon and cheering at the thought of Millie using fewer filters as she learns that #LivingMyBestLife doesn’t automatically mean #LivingMyBestLie! Claire Frost obviously knows this social media driven world inside out and whilst Living My Best Li(f)e may be a fun and entertaining read for the summer, it illustrates perfectly what those of us who are less obsessed by image, fear is happening to ‘the younger generation’. This is such a clever approach.
Both Bell and Millie are vibrant and believable characters who develop well throughout the book. I wanted them to have happy ever after endings but equally I didn’t want their happiness to be dependent on men after their experiences with Colin and King Louis. Clair Frost shows female strength and independence as well as romance and friendship with a deft touch, although I must admit, I might have taken a more robust approach to Louis’ parenting skills than does Millie. Suze and Els also added to my satisfaction in reading Living My Best Li(f)e because they represent an important element of society too and with the age ranges presented I felt Claire Frost has written a narrative with relevance for all readers.
I enjoyed the way the plot of Living My Best Li(f)e has community and friendship at its heart, so that whilst there are frequent references to social media and the personas we present to others, the true meaning of real life is clear without being preachy. The photography night class in particular felt like the prefect setting for developing (no pun intended) meaningful relationships so that I ended the read feeling gladdened and uplifted. The humour, especially through the direct speech also adds to the feel-good nature of this book.
Living My Best Li(f)e is a fresh, entertaining and modern read that I enjoyed. I’d love to think Claire Frost has given media obsessed readers the strength and permission to be themselves and not who they think others might want them to be as this is the very powerful message at the heart of the book.
About Claire Frost
Claire Frost grew up in Manchester, the middle of three sisters. She always wanted to do a job that involved writing, so after studying Classics at Bristol University she started working in magazines. For the last 10 years she’s been at The Sun on Sunday’s Fabulous magazine, where she is Assistant Editor and also responsible for the title’s book reviews. She can mostly be found at her desk buried under a teetering TBR pile.
Follow Claire on Twitter @FabFrosty for more information.