Book Review: How I Exiled My Inner Bitch

Was there ever an inner bitch?

Blurb: Dionne is 36, and still hooked on the imaginary twin she invented to get her through her desolate childhood. With such an odd companion, long-term relationships are impossible and she is doomed to live her life as a serial monogamist, until the Go Along Guy shows up. Greg has denial on intravenous, so Dionne’s quirks simply pass him by and, pretty soon, shallow love blossoms. Unfortunately, however, what are also blossoming are Greg’s teenage daughters. They don’t like Dionne and their hormones are raging


For starters, I love the main message of this work. We love Chick-lit that touches issues we can relate to. We’ve all had imaginary friends/girlfriends/boyfriends/a fuck buddy with a French name (that was me), if they don’t exist now (as happens with Dionne’s Lionne) they constituted most of our childhood/pre-teen years. We walked home from school with them, played with them, talked to them about issues we will never bring up with our parents… but let them dictate the way we live even to our mid-thirties? Surely, Dionne has issues.

Dionne was brought up in a home that could be described as broken with her dad running off and her mum displaying lack of attention to her than she does her three siblings who happen to be triplets (with annoying rhyming names). She’s bullied at school, smashed her nose from door slams by her sisters at home and—as though that isn’t enough torture—she has ‘bad black teeth’. It’s no surprise Rionne, her first (imaginary) friend pops up, serving as a solid rock and a great companion when she’s been maltreated.

The question that puzzled me most reading about Dionne’s childhood is, if Rionne was a great friend, why then did Lionne pop up?

LIonne is the girl you’d love to hate. She’s just in it for the thrills of being plain trouble. She hates being pushed around and wouldn’t hesitate to take you down if you get on her bad side (most at times, you don’t have to even get on her bad side). Lionne kills Rionne noting she’s a ‘bad’ influence to Dionne. At this point, we make the interpretation that Dionne is so tired of being the good girl. It’s her chance of screaming to the world she’s a  “Good Girl Gone Bad”. This new phase eventually leads to a series of standing up for herself, a character you might just end up liking until things get too serious and she’s kicked out of home.

Dionne is now in her mid-thirties. And so is Lionne.

The most intriguing effect is how real Lionne is portrayed.  She's fighting fiercely with Dionne and in a flash she vanishes when someone walks in on them. All this switching between imaginary and realistic worlds creates a fascinating imagery where Dionne is all of a sudden so sane, then in a second not so sane as you thought.

Lionne has taken on almost every aspect of Dionne’s social life, including her job (manipulating her boss and her colleagues) and her first-dates (which don’t even make it to a second, but end up in dilemma with Lionne picking on the bad attributes of every guy she plans to date). Soon enough her dating life is in shambles.

Now her sisters have grown up to be mothers who could do with Super-Nanny’s help. And are not together like they used to be, realizing they were only similar in reference to their features but nil points are scored with similarity in relation to their personality and interests.

Greg, a forty-year old divorcé, comes into the picture (with his hormonal-raging teenage daughters). This guy is what you ladies would call adorable. He gives Dionne a key in the early stages of their relationship. He doesn’t employ the Call A Week Strategy After First Meeting and Pretend You’ve Always Got Plans (like most of us guys like doing). And he takes her shopping(?!) The two are very into each other (so into each other it gives you the impression they’ve been together for over a decade and have already begun plucking out each other’s grey hair). Below is evidence:

They cook together, eat together, and Greg is totally impressed when he discovers Dionne has their next two weeks dinner menus and corresponding recipes in an Excel file on her laptop.

The children are Alanah-the American Cheerleader kind(-only wiser) and there’s Georgia-the Goth who is quite the artist.

So Greg is suffering from CP (Commitment Phobia). Georgia has developed love for ciggies. Alanah isn’t being nice to Dionne except if Greg’s around. And Mike, Dionne’s boss, is worrying about ageing. Dionne can’t help wanting to fix things. And most importantly, we see Dionne’s role is changing from cozy girlfriend to Super-Nanny, handling all the issues with the kids (because their mum is busily screwing other losers and doesn’t even have the time to tend to her underarms), and hence dwindling the chemistry between Greg and herself.

The problems keep coming. Dionne can’t not want to fix them. The more she tasks herself with solving problems which are very similar to the ones she had to endure as a child, the less Lionne is seen.

Perhaps the only solution to killing your inner bitch is to deal with the traumas of your childhood (that brought her up in the first place)

In this fast-paced title, the most thrilling feature is the unifying end-how the resolutions came about and how Miv perfectly explains the reasons behind every character’s motive which in the start would get you cocking eyebrows thinking if this person was insane. After all, it’s just a psychological comedy (as Miv puts it), and good sense is made out of it.

In this book, there’s so much humour, so much mental problems and cute-adorable love.

If I have to do it all over again-reading it to what a fulfilling end it brought-I wouldn’t hesitate.

I highly recommend this wonderful chick-lit for anyone, who’s been through rough childhood or not, having kids who pee in their shampoo or not, having psychological problems or not, feeling too romantic or not, wanting to have a good laugh or not.

My rating is a whooping: 4/5 stars.

This is definitely going on my list as books that made my summer this year.

And in case you feel like some skimpy skirts and stilettos. I attached the link so you could get to them. Maybe Miv should do free giveaways, don't you think? It's only fair. She awoke the urge!

Work here not done. Off to place my review at  Goodreads .

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