Don’t You Forget About Me follows 30 year old Georgina Horspool, who has just split with her boyfriend after finding him in flagrante with his PA, and to make matters worse, works for the worst Italian restaurant and the nastiest boss in town. Mercifully sacked, she is set up for a new job by her brother-in-law at a refurbished pub called ‘The Wicker’.
Just after starting at the pub she realises that the pub owner’s brother (and co-owner) is her high-school sweetheart, Lucas, with whom we gather things did not end well, although this is not explained until much later on in the book.
Mhairi McFarlane has a real talent for writing books that touch on difficult subjects, but doing so with humour and a poignancy that makes you connect with the protagonist, and want the best possible ending for them. This novel touches on both physical and emotional abuse, but manages to do so with dark humour and a relentless sense of optimism.
So called ‘Chick lit’ gets a bad reputation, but when done well, women’s fiction can be sublime and Mhairi seems to have figured out exactly how to do it well. The only gripe that I had was that Lucas supposedly didn’t recognise Georgina, which seemed a little unlikely as they had been so tight around 15 years ago – people you’re that into don’t tend to change so much that you don’t remember them when they’re stood in front of you, with exactly the same name. That is sort of touched upon later, but I still thought it was a little odd.
That aside, this is another great, funny and touching book, that encourages young women everywhere to stand up for themselves and not take any nonsense – especially not from the men in their lives!