Don’t You Forget About Me
By: Mhairi McFarlane
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
If there’s one thing worse than being fired from the grottiest restaurant in town, it’s coming home early to find your boyfriend in bed with someone else.
Reeling from the indignity of a double dumping on the same day, Georgina snatches at the next job that she’s offered – barmaid in a newly opened pub, which just so happens to run by the boy she fell in love with at school: Lucas McCarthy. And whereas Georgina (voted Most Likely to Succeed in her school yearbook) has done nothing but dead-end jobs in the last twelve years, Lucas has not only grown into a broodingly handsome man, but also has turned into an actual grown-up with a business and a dog along the way.
Meeting Lucas again not only throws Georgina’s rackety present into sharp relief, but also brings a dark secret from her past bubbling to the surface. Only she knows the truth about what happened on the last day of school, and why she’s allowed it to chase her all these years…
Wheee, a new Mhairi McFarlane book! As you may know I’m a big fan of her books (see author tag) so I was delighted to hear she was coming out with a new book this year. I actually picked up my copy of the book while I was on layover at Munich International Airport which is something to remember too 🙂
I admit, it took a very long time for me to warm up to this book. I’m not sure if it was the mindset I was in at the time I started reading it–I was sluggishly coming off being sick, and I was just busy taking care of stuff–but I didn’t find it as funny as her previous books, it was harder for me to connect with the characters, fall in with the closeness of the friendship (which is always a highlight in McFarlane’s books). Maybe it’s because Georgina had a lot going on and, as she will admit herself but refuse to let others judge her for it, her life is a flaming hot mess, but damn if anyone starts messing with her, I got pretty pissed on her behalf (which was quite frequent. Maybe that’s why it wasn’t as enjoyable a read). And there’s a lot of people who are giving her a hard time and I just really felt for her. So maybe her life isn’t all put together and maybe she’s dealing with a lot of issues, but who isn’t?
It’s also interesting how this book really brings to the forefront issues that the #MeToo movement has been expressing, of perpetrators going scot-free, of power dynamics. Her douchebag ex Robin was definitely a pinnacle of this (ugh) but her stepfather was also something else of a different kind. I thought it was the last fifth of the book where it really brought it home, and Georgina’s many secrets coming out into the open did bring a tear to my eye.
And Lucas. Oh man Lucas…Like Georgina you’re left wondering exactly what happened that made him the way he was. And for a while that storyline–which seemed like the central storyline of the entire novel–didn’t quite seem to be in the fore, which probably contributed to my taking as long as it did to warm up to the book. But when the confrontations finally happened and Lucas stepped up…Yeah, hearts and happiness everywhere. I need me a dark-haired Irish bloke, lol, he was just 🙂
So yeah, Don’t You Forget About Me doesn’t quite hold up for me compared to some of her earlier books. There were some really insane moments in the book, some of the latter bringing a chuckle (omg Kitty and trying to spell using military phonetic alphabet was hilarious; my reaction was the same as Georgina’s), but the finally fifth of the novel really had the warmth that I’ve come to know in McFarlane’s books. It’s still a good book worth checking out this summer 🙂