Book Review: The Wrong Knickers by Bryony Gordon
I bought The Wrong Knickers at BritMums Live last month. To be honest, I bought it solely because I’d seen Bryony Gordon speaking, and had liked what she had to say. I had no clue what it was about.
As it turns out, the book is pretty much as if she had crawled inside of my head when I turned twenty. (without the drugs, I hasten to add)
The Wrong Knickers is a memoir of Gordon’s twenties. As I read it, I alternated between outright guffaws (sometimes in public) and thinking “omg your mum is going to read this!” This is a very truthful book. In fact, it’s so truthful it made me feel very uncomfortable; Gordon has put voice to the way I felt numerous times in my twenties. The way she describes her relationships with men, fawning after them when she should have long since kicked them to the curb, was like reading my own diary – only with better writing.
The writing is exquisite, and shows exactly how Gordon managed to hold down a job on the Telegraph while all of this was going on; they would have been bonkers to let her go! Lots of it makes for painful reading. I recognised myself in so much of Gordon’s self-destructive ability to choose the one unavailable man, and make a fool of herself following him around. She takes responsibility for her actions, and for having allowed these situations to happen, in a way I’ve never been brave enough to do, save for in 3am reveries.
Aside from all this honesty, the book is very funny. One chapter is all about being single while all of your friends marry off around you. Her friends tell her they’re envious of her living the single lifestyle, “as if your life is one long episode of Sex and the City as opposed to, say, all seven series of Only Fools and Horses.” Still, this book is like the thinking woman’s SATC; a British, grubby, realistic version.
In my favourite section, Gordon meets an author who spends most of the evening talking about his favourite book, Donkey Oatey. She thinks it’s cute, how he seems to love a children’s book and collects different copies of it. It is hilarious, and I had to stop reading because my laughing was disturbing S!
This is one of those books where you read it, and it’s done exactly what it said it would do – it’s an “eye-poppingly truthful” memoir of her twenties, and finishes when she’s thirty – but you still want more. I want a memoir of Gordon’s thirties, damnit! I know she’s only thirty four… but still! Get writing, please!