Aisling is twenty-eight and still lives at home with her parents. She loves a drink (always served on a coaster, she’s not an animal).
She thinks whoever invented the shirt/jumper combination – the schumper – is a fashion genius.
She’d rather die than miss a free hotel breakfast.
In short,she’s a complete Aisling.
Her boyfriend John is a bit of a ride, but after seven years Aisling wants more than two nights a week at his place. She wants to be able to answer the question ‘When’s it your turn?’ by flashing a ring on her finger.
Until a week in Tenerife with John ends in a break-up, and she surprises everyone by deciding it’s time to move on, and introduce the Big Smoke of Dublin to the ways of the complete Aisling . . .
So I’m part of the Bridget Jones generation. I was one of those newly graduated girls, meeting their friends for a #Chardonnay on a Friday night and talking about dating disasters, big knickers and calorie counting at exactly the same time as Bridget and her mates. It just felt so real at the time and I think this book will affect its readers in exactly the same way! I don’t think you have to be from Ireland to recognise an Aisling and I think that whether you’ve met one, are best pals with one or are an Aisling, you’re going to love this book.
From the very start, where Aisling is in the horrible situation of being trapped in the loo, listening to her character being assassinated right in front of her ears, we bond with her and feel like she is a real person rather than a made up character from a novel. Her agonies about how long you should wait to be proposed to, the terror of wasting an absolutely amazing breakfast buffet and the genius way that a good pair of dangly earrings can jazz up your whole outfit are relatable with a capital R
I literally could not put this book down, I was so caught up in Aisling’s journey and I’m sure you will be too. Her ‘romantic holiday’ is perfectly cringeworthily depicted as we feel her awaiting the not-so-imminent proposal with a heavy heart as she realises that it is just not going to happen. It’s hard to feel like that – that your life is just waiting to begin and if only this one thing happened then everything else will just fall into place. Even if for you it wasn’t a white frock and a reception at the swankiest venue in Ballygobbard, you’ll still be able to connect with Aisling’s feeling of ‘Why me’ when her life plan which seemed so logical, just doesn’t pan out the way she expects it to…
The next section, where Aisling moves to Dublin with Sadhbh and Elaine is a joy to read. It’s such fun to see Aisling embrace all of these new adventures with such gusto, even if you suspect she probably still has a spare pair of tights and some wet wipes in her handbag in case of emergencies. I loved the idea behind this book: that our future might not always be written the way that we think it is and that we can change our destiny without having to leave behind the things which make us our essential selves.
The Irish setting will be familiar to readers of Marian Keyes and it’s no coincidence that she loved the book too! #OMGWACA isn’t just for an Irish audience though, there is lots here that you’ll recognise wherever you grew up. I totally fell for Aisling; she’s my favourite fictional character this year after Eleanor Oliphant. Although they are really different as characters, I think that what I love about them both is that they are uncompromisingly themselves throughout the book- regardless of what life throws at them.
This is the kind of book you’ll be quoting at your friends and begging them to read as you will want to have a good laugh talking about Aisling and thinking of all the ways you’ve either been like her or met someone who’s done exactly the same thing.
I loved the story behind the book too:
Authors Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen are Aislings. Maybe not complete Aislings but about 42%. The Aisling character was conceived in their sitting room in 2008, when they began to observe the many traits, characteristics and quirks of a very particular type of Irish girl; one they identified around them and one they identified with.
The Aisling character started as an in-joke between two best friends on a Facebook group which now boasts over 50,000 followers and counting.
Check them out over on Facebook ~ Oh My God What a Complete Aisling
And check out some of the other fantastic bloggers on the tour – I loved hearing what they thought about Aisling and I love it when they reveal their own wee Aisling moments in their review. Mine was breaking up with an ex boyfriend and leaving a whole uni folder at his flat – then having to go back after my grand exit and shamefacedly retrieve my folder of notes on 18th century poetry whilst totally avoiding the sniggers of his flatmates who had totally been slagging me off as I arrived.
There’s a wee bit of Aisling in us all – I recommend you get out and treat yourself to a copy so that you can find out for yourself how much of an Aisling you really are…