When you look back on your life so far, there are certain episodes, many stages, which you remember partly with fondness and mainly with horror.
The diary entries which will never see the light of day, the nights that are best forgotten, the recklessness of youth that makes us shudder yet look back in part-admiration as we head into our wiser yet more boring years.
But where most of us have a bonfire with the evidence or reinvent our more trying history with a sheen of respectability, Bryony Gordon has fished about in her tie-die underwear drawer, rummaged through the years of misspent young adulthood and flashed her dodgy knickers to the nation, with hilarious results.
The Wrong Knickers chronicles journalist and columnist Bryony’s confused 20s in London as she stumbled through, yearning for something but not knowing quite what.
Emotionally almost painfully honest through the dark humour, there are few women who will be unable to relate to some of Bryony’s dilemmas of a moral, financial, cultural, practical and yes, sexual, nature.
We haven’t all been been wooed by Russell Brand, had an affair with a married man or been a cocaine binge – or at least we haven’t written a memoir about it like Bryony but, believe me, it will resonate somewhere.
Widely billed as the next Bridget Jones, I would disagree. Bryony shares a posh name, a life in London and a quietly fabulous job with Bridget but there the resemblance ends. Both yearn for a man this is true but Bryony offers what Bridget did not – realism. If you don’t pay your council tax the bailiffs will call, as she found to her cost.
When I first started reading this tale, I I found it quite difficult to take, recognising some of my own dilemmas and insecurities mirrored in Bryony – this is a chick-lit style life post-mortem exam and painful in parts.
But this is one that can only be written by a woman who has finally found an answer ( in her case a husband and a baby) and is content with herself enough to make others weep with laughter at her stories. Not a feminist story, but a very female one.
The cover may be pink but the story is black.
Read and you will weep, with laughter and with joy that she made it through against the odds.
I for one, have a feeling I would get on with Bryony pretty well.
Read and reviewed by @jabberingjourno