Book Review: Living the Dream – Lauren Berry

I loved this book. It’s sharp, funny and sarcastic. The characters are intelligent, if somewhat aimless, women in their late 20s. I hope this book isn’t categorised as chicklit (where good books go to die) because it’s not. It’s the best, easy, funny book I’ve read so far this year.


The main character Emma has finished uni, got a temp job and found herself nearing 30 without achieving any of her hopes and dreams. She wants to be a writer, but is instead hating every minute of her job in marketing (or is it advertising? I don’t even know if they are different). The corporate bullshit that she has to deal with on a daily basis is grinding her down, but paying her bills.  He inner monologue is hilarious and I totally related to dealing with BS with a smile while inwardly hating yourself and every minute of it!

Her best friend is Clementine. She is the late 20s girl who has shown amazing promise in her career as a film writer. She has been to a well respected film school and her work has been praised by those who need to praise it, but she hasn’t been able to make a living from it yet. She’s waiting for her big break, skint, working in a bar and living with her parents.

They also have a friend, Yasmin, whose life is more together, who grounds them quite a bit in the story.

The fact that the three main characters are at these different places means you are likely to identify with at least one of them.

There’s a lot about not feeling like a grown up yet, and feeling like their peers are more like real grown ups. 30 is looming and it’s the age they thought they would have all aspects of their lives sorted by. They think over 30s feel like grown ups. I can tell you that isn’t going to magically change. I am 37 and I look at world leaders who are the same age as me. They seem like real grown ups. I don’t feel like that. Yet here I am, a fully functional adult with a full time job, husband and kids.  You aren’t going to one day wake up and have a magic ‘I suddenly feel like a grown up!’ moment. There is clearly some impostor syndrome happening here (probably with most of us).

It occurred to her that, on her ascent into adulthood, she might try to act more like a lady – but even the voice in her head said it sarcastically.

There are some hilarious moments in Living the Dream and some wonderful phrases. i’m putting some of them here so I can just keep rereading them.

Adam just sat there watching, like the inanimate knobject he is

She had no intention of putting his limp sadness anywhere near her face,

She stared at the damp meat scarf he called a neck.

Beneath the layers of jealousy, resentment and rejection there lay the blind, unsophisticated rage of PMT.

and my favourite, maybe because I’d quite like a nap time during the day:

Outside, summer was dressed up as autumn and rain hammered at the windows. The sky was a mute apocalyptic grey and the room was too warm. It felt like nap time in an old people’s home

Overall this book is FUNNY and I thoroughly enjoyed it.




7 thoughts on “Book Review: Living the Dream – Lauren Berry

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