In Case You Missed It
by Lindsey Kelk
Let’s get one thing clear right off the bat: this is a really good book, but this isn’t a romance.
At least, it doesn’t fit most readers’ current definition of a romance. The male and female leads aren’t constantly around each other, the main plot doesn’t revolve around them getting together, and for 98% of this book, they aren’t even remotely close to becoming a couple.
This is women’s fiction. And yes, I know that a lot of people don’t like that name, but honestly, I can’t think of any other way to sum this up. More than anything, this is about the personal growth of the female lead.
One thing the publication hype does get right is that this is a bonafide comedy. I laughed the entire way through it. The inner monologue of the heroine is so quick and clever and very, very British. There’s a lot of situational humor here too. I took over 50 notes on my e-reader and most of them are just “LOL” or “LMFAO” or “OMFGIAMHOWLING”. It really is hilarious from start to finish, unlike a lot of books that are labeled as comedies but usually stop being funny around the halfway point.
Rosalind, or Ros, as her friends call her, is a podcast producer recently arrived back to London from a three-year adventure to the US, where she oversaw a successful podcast about books. Her departure from the states was something of a surprise, so she didn’t exactly save for the move home. Her parents graciously let her crash at their place, or more like, the renovated garden shed out back, since they’re busy enjoying an empty nest and are “getting to know each other” again.
Cue Ros gagging.
Luckily, she manages to (mostly) evade their near-constant sexcapades and slides seamlessly back into her old life, finding a job right away, hanging out with her group of close friends, and even reconnecting with a past love.
The only thing is, while Ros is busy trying to relive the glory days of life before she moved to the states, everyone else around her is busy trying to move on. This is the real crux of the story.
“I want things to be exactly as they were before.”
“But you can’t turn back the clock, Ros.”
It can be frustrating at times, watching her cling to things that her friends have clearly outgrown, and from the near-manic focus she has on recreating some of her and her friends’ wildest adventures, you can tell that there’s something going on with her. Some reason she’s so stuck in the past. Some explanation for why she still thinks she’s in love with a man who clearly isn’t good enough for her.
Enter “Twat-Faced Wank Chops”. Ahem, I mean Patrick, her ex. Sorry, I sort of prefer the nickname her friends have for him. Because it fits. The reader is shown right away that he’s kind of a prick, but he’s a hot prick, and he can be surprisingly honest, and even sweet, so maybe he’s grown in the three years they’ve been apart?
I’ll admit that, like Ros, even though he gave me a weird vibe, I was willing to give him a chance, and that is part of the genius of this book. Not everything is black and white. He’s not a complete, irredeemable asshole. You see the good in him, the potential. And so you give Ros a pass when she willfully overlooks some of his negative behaviors.
Oh, and I should say now that he’s not the romantic lead. Not really. He’s more like something she has to get out of her system. Part of her journey towards realizing that the past is gone, and no matter how hard you try to bring it back, it’ll never be the same.
I weirdly enjoyed this aspect of the book, whereas oftentimes I’m left annoyed by characters who don’t “get it” as quickly as I would. I think it’s because as a woman in my mid-30s, with a past of my own, living in these uncertain times, I do find myself looking back more often lately. And I know I can’t be alone in doing that right now.
Let’s just hope that things settle down and it’ll become easier for us all to take a page out of Ros’ book and learn how to start looking forward again.
If you like great stories about women, filled with humor and a dash of romance, you should definitely check this one out.