Title: Really Good, Actually
Author: Monica Heisey
Publisher: Fourth Estate
I feel like when you get a divorce everyone’s wondering how you ruined it all, what made you so unbearable to be with. If your husband dies, at least people feel bad for you.
Maggie’s marriage has ended just 608 days after it started, but she’s fine – she’s doing really good, actually. Sure, she’s alone for the first time in her life, can’t afford her rent and her obscure PhD is going nowhere . . . but at the age of twenty-nine, Maggie is determined to embrace her new status as a Surprisingly Young Divorcée™.
Soon she’s taking up ‘sadness hobbies’ and getting back out there, sex-wise, oversharing in the group chat and drinking with her high-intensity new divorced friend Amy. As Maggie throws herself headlong into the chaos of her first year of divorce, she finds herself questioning everything, including: Why do we still get married? Did I fail before I even got started? How many Night Burgers until I’m happy?
Really Good, Actually is a witty, emotional and entertaining novel about a situation many of us can relate to: heartbreak. Even if you’ve never experienced it yourself, you’ll have some idea of how upsetting and earth-shattering it can be. Maggie’s marriage to her high school sweetheart has just finished because her husband of only a few years has left her, Maggie is struggling to come to terms with her new, single life.
We follow Maggie as she goes through the full spectrum of emotions. Platonic friendships have never been more important, but she’s not in the best place and we see her push some of her good friends away.
It’s clear that Monica Heisey has written for some great comedy shows and has a talent for making people laugh, and we see this in the many funny and sardonic moments Maggie goes through. As a character, she is messy and chaotic but ultimately, she feels real. She’s not perfect but she’s well-rounded and convincing and, though at times she behaves frustratingly or in a way I don’t agree with, I really enjoyed reading about her antics. Some parts of the novel are perhaps a little repetitive but it didn’t matter at all because they still offered laughs throughout, and that is something this book doesn’t fail to provide.
This is a great debut which feels fresh, funny and creative. I am sure this will be a huge hit!
My rating: 4/5
Many thanks to the publisher, Fourth Estate, for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest review.