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“If you managed to get out of bed this morning, you’re winning.”
I’ve had a tune going around my head this morning, a lovely upbeat number from Avenue Q, “…everyone’s a little bit racist, it’s true…”, except in my head I’ve been swapping out ‘racist’ for ‘anxious’, and I think on some level, it is true! May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and a lot of people in my circles are preparing to go all out to raise funds and awareness, so mental health and self care is at the forefront of my mind. I have been lucky to receive ‘Reader, I Married Me!’ from Author Sophie Tanner in the post, and yes, it took me less than 48 hours to read it! I’ll be honest, I had read the description and blurb on the back of the book. However, for some reason, I pictured it as a non-fiction self help type book. Wrong! It is one of the most delightful Chick-Lit that I’ve read in a while.
‘Reader, I Married Me!’ follows Chloe a 30-something year old swept up in an exciting romance with her best friend from University who travelled half way around the world to declare his love for her. They’d returned to Brighton to settle, had good jobs with the promise of a decent career ahead. Well, they had all of this until Chloe found evidence of his extra-curricular activities literally in her Labrador’s poop. Caught completely off guard, Chloe finds herself navigating through a rather bumpy year with relationships, family and work all thrown up in the air. Leaving Chloe frantically trying to bring everything back into some semblance of order.
“if you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”
A huge part of this challenge is to start putting herself first. In the early hours of the morning at her best friend, Dom’s, place, she drunkenly realises that putting everyone else and their ideals before her own is making her miserable. This is a pivotal moment for Chloe. She there and then decides to commit to loving herself, and the idea of a self-marriage is born. Fortunately/unfortunately she shares this on her blog (as bloggers, we can relate to this one haha). Upon waking in the morning finds that her post has gone viral. Taking a deep breath, she launches into wedding planning with her best friends by her side. All whilst ex-boyfriends, judgey friends and trolls dial in to add their negative two cents.
If the idea of marrying yourself seems a bit weird, Chloe points out that there really aren’t any ‘cultural ceremonies’ where you celebrate yourself or commit to look after and love yourself. It is something that naturally should be a part of our lives. In a media age that teaches us that we always need to be better, do better, look better, we spend so much time trying to catch up with society’s expectations, and very little time giving ourselves the mental high five that we deserve by just being ourselves!
Over the last while I myself have been placing more value ‘self care’, something that we do not do enough! I’ve been listening to Fearne Cotton’s Podcast, “Happy Place” and something that they’ve realised is that self-care is a very un-British thing to do. Personally, I’m not British, but I would argue that Brits better at self-care than us Kiwis in New Zealand – here, spa days are a common thing, not so much in New Zealand!
“We’re supposed to be a sophisticated culture – I mean, look at how many different types of coffee we have…But we only ever focus on one kind of love – romance. It’s all anyone ever talks about. I think self-love should get just as much airtime.”
So, would I recommend ‘Reader, I Married Me!’? Absolutely.
The story is written in current times, where almost everyone has a blog and the internet is home to all of our stories via social media. Set in current pop culture it’s incredibly relatable and written in a way that draws you in. With many plot twists that’ll have you cheering on the underdog! It’s an easy read, something that you won’t want to put down, but stays easily on your brain so that it is a joy to return to if you do have to let it go for a while. The lessons are gentle and leave you feeling like you yourself have accomplished something through reading Chloe’s journey before continuing on with your day –
“not happily ever after, but happily ever now“.
Want to check out more of our book reviews and recommendations? Take a gander here!
Happy reading! – TMC team
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