This Way Up by Paige Nick (Penguin Books South Africa)
Stella du Preez has the perfect life. Well almost. She is married to a great man. She has a great, supportive family. She lives in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Her friends are the best.

But … well, her job isn’t great. As the sex column agony aunt, Dr Dee, she has to deal with an almost unending slew of queries about the ickiest of things when all she really wants is to be taken seriously as a journalist.

Then, just when it seems like things can’t get worse on the work front, Stella’s dream job – of features writer – is given to the all-too-likeable Thandi.

Upset and disappointed, Stella calls Max to tell him what has happened, but instead she tells a small untruth – a little white lie – that slowly but surely unravels her whole perfect world.

I first came across Paige Nick’s writing in her weekly column in the Sunday Times.

A Million Miles from Normal is a truly South African column full of wit, humour, sarcasm and africanisms that only us South African’s get when we're laughing at ourselves.  Naturally, I jumped at the chance to review This Way Up. 

This fabulous novel is about two very different women.  The first is Stella a woman who seems to have everything except the perfect job. 

The second is Poppy and spunky pink-haired twenty-something hitchhiking across America looking for the next big thrill. 

These two narratives run simultaneously next to each other; hand in hand like two friends in the park.  It takes a rather skilled writer to pull this off and Paige does it with flair that is salt-and-peppered with humour and awkward moments. 

It was a tad bit unsettling being thrown from Cape Town to hitchhiking through America, and it took some time trying to adjust myself to here and there in a matter of pages. 

However, you do get used to it and -  in fact -  you can't help but start wanting to know what happens next with each character. 

This is a true Paige Nick tale of different women carving their own way through their lives and taking responsibility for it – or at least, that’s what I took away from it.

So pop into your nearest bookshop or click the buy now button because this is the perfect beach read!  Paige Nick will swallow you up and spit you out while you clutch your belly and laugh.

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