Monday, July 5, 2010

Book Review: My So-called Life: The Tragically Normal Diary of Rachel Riley by Joanna Nadin

Description (from Goodreads):
Rachel Riley is the offspring of a depressingly unbroken home. Her mum and dad refuse to let her have a mobile phone, and have banned Ribena (too purple) and Eastenders (too common); her seven-year-old brother buys giant Des Lynam cut-outs and Will Young dolls from ebay and talks in Elvish; and the adopted dog eats her Pride and Prejudice boxed collection. It is time to change things. Rachel resolves that this year she will become tragic, literary and interesting - and will win the heart of Justin, the lead guitarist from Certain Death, along the way. Laugh-out-loud funny from beginning to end, this is a fresh new voice which will speak directly to teenagers everywhere. If Bridget Jones had kept a diary when she was a teenager, it is unlikely to have been this funny!

My thoughts:
When I brough this book home, my mom laughed at me and said that I am too old to read this one. Well, maybe I am, but this was so hilarious that I don't regret doing so. 

As a Christmas present Rachel Riley gets a diary from her friend Scarlet. The Christmas presents, once again, have been something way different she had wished for; she can only dream about the complete first season DVD set of the O.C. The diary tells about Rachel's life on a span of one year through her own eyes and thoughts. The reader is introduced to Rachel's parents, her hilarious mother who has a tendency to complain about everything, to write to the local newspaper about her complaints and to make lists of things that are not allowed inside the house; Ribena, watching O.C, talking about iPod, etc.

Rachel's 7-year old brother is obsessed with Elijah Wood, the Lord Of the Rings and Will Young. When Rachel's grandfather's dog is adopted to live at Rachel's house, some problems arouse. The dog has tendency to eat everything it sees; Rachel's valentine's day card from a mystery guy, Rachel's BBC Pride and Prejudice adaptation... Also Rachel's grandfather causes problems; he is kicked out from the elderly home because he has a relationship with his caretaker, who is decades younger than he is. The reader is also introduced to other family members of Rachel such as her aunt Joy(less), a hard core religious person.

Rachel has two best friends; Scarlet and Sad Ed. Scarlet is a daughter of sex therapeutist and gyneogologists. At her home talking about sex is totally normal. Rachel wishes her parents could be little like Scarlet's parents. Rachel believes that Sad Ed is gay and she wishes that she and Ed can someday be like Will&Grace. But is Ed really gay? Scarlet tells Rachel that Ed is in love with a girl who just does not notice that Ed has been in love with her for a long time.

I was literally laughing out loud when reading this. I wish I would have been as hilarious as Rachel when I was like 14. This book reminded me a lot of those Georgia Nicholson books which I used to read when I was younger. My favorite parts or this novel where the ones where Rachel wrote about her mother. Thank God my mother is not like that. Also the relationship between Rachel's grandfather and his caretaker is hilarious. 

This book is a perfect read for kids over 13 years of age. But I think it is also nice and light read for older readers who want to read something hilarious and light without much of thought. I would really like to read the other books in the series, but the local library did not have copies of them. :(


  1. Oh, great review! I think that us "oldies" can read books for 13-year-old once in a while. Why not? This really seems to be a lovely read. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks Irena.
    This one was so funny, I was literally laughing out loud when reading it. I loved the main character's description about her family etc.


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