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TEAM ZOELLA MARCH 4, 2022

Feb ’22 Zoella Book Club: Reviewing Reader, I Married Me by Sophie Tanner

If you’re looking for your next piece of feminist Up Lit, don’t let this one pass you by. Keep reading to find out what the team thought of February’s book club!

In 2015, Author and PR consultant Sophie Tanner tied the knot in a sologamist ceremony in Brighton, complete with white wedding dress, bridesmaids, and her darling four-legged ring bearer, Ella.

Prompted by a string of unfaithful boyfriends and a downward spiral of depression, Sophie decided marrying herself was the ultimate act of self-love and therein lies the inspiration for her Bridget-Jones style novel, only Mr Darcy is noticeably absent in Tanner’s version.

Loosely based on Sophie’s own personal experiences, her aptly titled debut novel Reader, I Married Me tells the story of newly-single Chloe Usher. After breaking up with the love of her life, her friends tell her to get back out there and bag the man of her dreams but after a disastrous date and one too many gins, she has a revelation – she doesn’t need a man to make her happy. She can choose herself. Disenchanted by men and online dating, she embarks on a somewhat bumpy road to self-discovery, culminating in her iconic solo wedding day.

Tanner’s hot take on the classic rom-com serves as a welcome tonic for anyone who’s ever felt the stigma of singledom in their thirties or the pressure to be married to feel validated. Reader, I Married Me is your reminder that you don’t need someone else to complete you.

If you’re looking for your next piece of feminist Up Lit, don’t let this one pass you by.

Keep reading to find out what the team thought of February’s book club!

Lareese’s thoughts…

You know exactly what you’re getting with Tanner’s glorious tour de force Reader, I Married Me and I appreciate that kind of transparency in a book. No one likes a blurb that reels you in only to let you down.

It’s a fun and uplifting read with an empowering message about self-love and learning to live life on your terms, regardless of societal expectations and norms. The characters are thoughtfully crafted and well-observed, with a few grating antagonists thrown in there for good measure. Giles and Linda, I’m looking at you, you weasels. I loved the Brighton setting and felt this leant the story a lovely energy reminiscent of the vibrant city I know and preach about often. For fellow Brightonians, you’ll have no trouble picturing exactly where the events of the novel play out.

For anyone who’s ever been ridiculed for being 30+ single and happy, or met with blank expressions when you’ve bellowed, ‘I DON’T NEED A MAN’ from your chest, consider this book your readerly match. Sophie Tanner understood the assignment loud and clear.

Rating: 4/5
Would you recommend: Would marry it.

Charlotte’s thoughts…

Reader, I Married Me was the ultimate nostalgic read, feeling to me like a cross between the Confessions of a Shopaholic series I loved in my teens, with the humour and wit of Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging. It felt really novel reading a book actually set in Brighton and being able to imagine the scenes coming to life in the place Team Zoella call home, so I’d really recommend it to any Brightonians who are all about celebrating the charm and quirks of this wonderful city! At times I feel like the writing style was a little young and again something I would have loved in my teens, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing and in fact made for an easy read I think would be great poolside on your summer holiday.

I loved watching Chloe’s journey and her personal growth throughout, and know her progress from heartbreak to healing is one so many will resonate with and enjoy celebrating alongside her! The book had it’s fair share of warm, likeable characters as well as some love-to-hate folks you quite fancy shoving off the pier, but overall it was a lovely tale of changing perspectives, learning from life’s hardest lessons and celebrating the joy that is loving YOU. I’m taking notes from Chloe (and Sophie!) and will think of her self-wedding every time I pass the bandstand.

Rating: 4/5
Would you recommend? Yes! Perfect summer beach read.

Danielle’s thoughts…

Normally when you think of ‘self-love’ books your mind heads straight to non-fiction rubbish with lots of homework and positive vibes. But Sophie manages to convey the importance of this topic so well through her story and the whole thing left me smiling from ear to ear. As Charlotte mentions, this is the perfect sun-soaked summer read when you just want to be entertained by easy prose, fun characters, and a lovely message. The Brighton setting was specific and I could feel myself navigating the specific streets through the book albeit with a rose-tinted Hollywood lense!

I think truly loving yourself is one of the most important things you can do in life, why shouldn’t we appreciate ourselves as much as we do our friends and family? I hate the narrative that you always have to be looking for a partner if you’re single and the pedestal relationships get put on over chilling by yourself. I hate that life (holidays, food shopping, house ownership etc) is easier as a two and think we should normalise people putting themself first, Chloe’s desire to achieve this is super admirable and I like to think I’d be inspired to do the same if I was single. It felt modern and fresh and makes favourites like Bridget Jones feel a little outdated. If you’re struggling with self-confidence, unlucky in love or even if you’re planning a wedding I think many would really enjoy this read.

Rating: 3.5/5
Would you recommend: For anyone after a beach read this summer!

Darcey’s thoughts…

I’ll admit from the offset that I was unsure when I started reading Reader, I Married Me, I wasn’t convinced I was going to get into the book and usually when this happens I find it hard to continue on! However, I found myself starting to really enjoy the sentiment behind the book of self-love. Although marrying yourself is not the norm, I think it goes way beyond that and reminds not only single women but everyone that actually happiness does start with yourself. I also do really enjoy a chic-flick, rom-com style book and film, so that aspect was nice as it brings a funny and light-hearted aspect to the reading.

I think a lot of women especially, but to be honest anyone who is dating in modern times, can relate to Chloe’s relationship failures and especially online dating (hands up if you’ve been personally victimised by Tinder). Although I’m not sure I would marry myself quite yet, I do think there is a LOT to be said about learning who you are as a person and dedicating more time to that. We do live in a society that seeks happiness from other outlets, but we spend 24/7 with our body and mind, so how can we be happy if we don’t love ourselves?!

Would definitely recommend this book for anyone after a light-hearted but also thought-provoking read, it’s absolutely made me think more about how I can prioritise myself more.

Rating: 4/5
Would you recommend?: Yes!

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