Getting Over It: I’m Trying to

Publishers Weekly wrote that if Anna Maxted’s Getting Over It  had been published before Bridget Jones’ Diary, it would be hailed as the Brit chick lit standard.  Good God, I hope not. Getting Over It is the story of Helen Bradshaw, a thirtyish London worker who is having a bad year:  her career is going nowhere, her boyfriend is a rakish loser, she sleeps with the wrong men and scares off the right ones, she’s a slob, and worst of all, her father dies unexpectedly.  There’s a lot going on in poor Helen’s life, but like her, it’s a mess.

It was Maxted’s debut novel, and it shows.  Helen was apparently not close to her father and her self-centered mother falls apart after his death, requiring Helen’s almost constant attention.  Yet these situations are alternately given a lot of weight and then resolved in a few sentences or in a way that seems insufficient given that those relationships seemed to be crucial parts of the plot.  Helen can’t seem to get it together at all, and it’s a little shocking for someone her age (which is MY age by the way).  She’s amazingly immature, and I can’t decide if she has genuine friends or if all her friends are assholes because none of them seem there for her. 

I get what Maxted is trying to do:  showing Helen’s maturation over the course of a year.  But it doesn’t really work.  Helen makes too many false starts and seems to kind of end up in a better place in spite of herself.  I think Helen is supposed to seem real and relatable due to her flaws, but it was too much for me.  She’s a mess and not really likable.  And the book just sort of ambles to its end having gone on far too long.


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