The thing about Bryony Gordon is she’s very clever. And more than she makes herself out to be with her tales of dropping out of university, being pursued by bailiffs, and having an affair with a married man. She’s clever because she sneaks wisdom into her book with great stealth and skill. There’s a series of genuine life lessons in The Wrong Knickers, and yet it’s a book so funny that I have lost count of the number of public locations that it has caused me to audibly giggle in.
The Wrong Knickers tricks you into thinking you’re merely flicking through one of Gordon’s columns on your tube journey home, rather than ploughing through an entire book. For your reading pleasure, Gordon describes being dumped on Valentine’s Day, being prescribed anti-depressants and ‘having sex to the dulcit tones of Jeremy Paxman berating an MP over the financial crisis’. Not content with reliving the more ridiculous moments in her life, Gordon also opens up about the unspoken hell of navigating what is supposed to be the best decade of your life. From the ‘phrases you don’t want to hear when you’re single’ to a chapter on ‘how to survive the wedding season’, any girl will find herself identifying with the numerous moments that require you to fix a fake smile on your face.
It is not often in our time of ‘having it all’ that a woman admits to even the slightest of struggles with everyday life. This makes The Wrong Knickers all the more refreshing. Contrary to the ideal that the media tells us, Gordon shows that there are women who don’t achieve as much as they thought they would by thirty. Some women don’t have a mortgage. Some of them are single. Some of them borrow money from their mums.
It’s your mistakes that make you who you are. Gordon’s story is not extraordinary, but that’s what makes it so perfect. Hindsight is a powerful thing, and Gordon is proof that – no matter how cringeworthy things seem – one day you’ll be laughing out loud.
Bryony Gordon’s The Wrong Knickers is published by Headline and is available to buy online here.