Book Review: Elizabeth Aaron 'Low Expectations'

by - Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Now, I'm not normally one for female-targeted literature. The idea of reading 50 Shades of Grey makes me feel a little, well, grey, and I normally roll my eyes at anything that sees a simpering female protagonist fall into the arms of a casually waiting man, or dictates feminism as a rulebook that we all must adhere to in order to be worthwhile beings. That aside, I have been reading a lot more recently, popping down to Huddersfield library on a twice-monthly basis. Maybe it's just because now I'm a worker I want to be one of those smug people doing an intellectual task on the commute, or maybe it just because it's something I always felt guilty for taking the time to do before. Whatever the answer,  I've been really enjoying getting stuck into a few books about 'life as a millenial woman', none more so than 'Low Expectations' by Elizabeth Aaron.

Centered around lovable fashion student Georgie, 'Low Expectations' is a familiar tale of growing up as we watch her try to balance uni, work, a hectic social life and various failed attempts to secure romantic bliss, with varying degrees of success. From the very first chapter, this book was laugh-a-minute levels of relatable: the Amazon description of 'GIRLS meets The Devil Wears Prada' could not be more perfect if I had written it myself, so fresh is Aaron's humour and scathing pop-culture references. That said, it doesn't feel like this book will date easily - who hasn't sat in the uni library just before a deadline and wondered what the point of it all is? Who hasn't got that friend who makes endlessly bad decisions but whom you can't help but love anyway? And who hasn't fancied someone who appears to be taken by a skinnier, prettier, cooler version of yourself? We've all been there, but we perhaps weren't as honest with ourselves as Georgie is. She is the girl inside us all who keeps it real even when everything is going down the plughole and she's spent her rent money on that must-have pair of shoes.

Whilst I couldn't relate to every single aspect of the story (I've never been into drugs, and my family structure is very different to Georgie's), but I fell for this character just as fully as I fell for the four protagonists of GIRLS, for the same warts-and-all reasons. When everything turns out alright at the end, you truly feel satisfied for the character, a rare feat in modern literature. I admire Georgie's academic drive, her passion for her vocation and her ability to accept that she doesn't get it right all the time. It is this latter trait that I think so many people of my generation are reluctant to admit to, and it's refreshing to see a girl Georgie, even if just in literary form, makes mistakes and come out of the other side.

As a debut novel, I am really excited to follow Elizabeth Aaron's career - you know you have found a great author when you read something that makes you want to be the writers friend, which is exactly how I feel here. Until we meet and become bff's, this book is the next big thing - roll on novel number two!

Buy 'Low Expectations' on Amazon here, or follow Elizabeth Aaron on Twitter @eaaronwrites

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