‘EXTREMELY funny and refreshingly honest about the unacknowledged complexity of female friendship’ Marian Keyes
[ About My Hot Friend ]
Lexi is on top of the world The podcast she co-hosts with her ride-or-die bestie is going stratospheric. But will all this fame and success cost them their friendship? Joanne’s just had a baby But her pals keep forgetting that she’s no longer available for tequila-fuelled nights out. She loves her son and her boyfriend but the loneliness is killing her. Claire is feeling left out The Whatsapp chat with her old school friends is ominously quiet these days, which can only mean one thing: a side group without her. Can she convince them to give her another chance, or is it time to move on and seek out new BFFs?
Fate brings Claire, Joanne and Lexi together as they navigate the knotty, joyful and occasionally toxic swamp that is female friendship. But how will they each decide which friendships to fight for, and which to let go forever?
[ My Review ]
My Hot Friend by Sophie White was published May 4th 2023 by Hachette Ireland and is described as ‘a sharp, funny and page-turning novel about the highs and lows of friendship’. I have to admit I initially was very reluctant to pick this book up. I thought I was too old for it and that it just wasn’t one that I could relate to…I was wrong on both counts.
Lexi, Joanne and Claire are three young women, strangers to each other, just trying to survive. In a society where image is perceived as everything, and the number of reactions a social media post gets is tantamount to success, there are times when it all gets a little too much. Navigating friendships, relationships and life in a world where so much is on show, and being present is considered vital, leaves these three women struggling.
Lexi is the co-host of a podcast that is known for its oft-times controversial words and has been going from strength-to-strength off the back of the virility of their social media feeds and chats. Her bestie Amanda has ambition and is willing to say anything that will draw in folk. It’s all PR, whether good or bad and Amanda just wants the fame and the money that will surely follow. But underneath the veneer, Lexi is having doubts. Her father is unwell, her brother has little respect for what she does and she is beginning to feel like she is on a fast-moving hamster wheel that is spinning out of control.
Joanne has lived the party life and is not ready to settle down yet but having a baby forces her to rethink. Living with her boyfriend, Bert, Joanne experiences rage on a daily basis. She is unable to express her feelings, so instead takes her anger out on Bert. Her friends have absolutely no concept of the challenges of motherhood, focused instead on having a good time. Hangovers are de rigueur with these women and Joanne just can’t cope. She feels lonely all the time, lost in this new status as a young mother. Bert is concerned for Joanne but nothing he does is good enough and their relationship is struggling.
Claire enjoys her work as a nanny for a young family. She enjoys the day-to-day of her life and, with her boyfriend, Jamie, she is relatively content. But Claire has her issues. She has had a past trauma that she wants to leave right there in the past but she is finding it difficult to remain balanced. Her oldest friend is getting married, with the group chat on WhatsApp very much focused on the wedding. Claire gets a feeling that something is amiss when the chatter slows down. Paranoid that a side conversation is happening without her, Claire becomes slightly obsessed with making her voice heard again. Claire is on a very slippery path but is convinced her every calculated move is necessary to prevent her from disappearing off the radar.
Lexi, Joanne and Claire, through an act of fate, all cross paths. These three women would normally not be socially acquainted but something clicks and through each other’s eyes they begin to realise that something is very unstable in their lives and that something needs to be fixed.
With these three characters, Sophie White depicts modern life with many of its damaging and complex layers. Multiple societal and relevant themes are sensitively handled, with Sophie White adding a letter to all readers at the end explaining her own personal battles. Frenetic is a word I would apply to our world today, with many people being collateral damage in this new society we have created. My Hot Friend delves into the implications for all when our mental health is dealt a blow and the subsequent domino effect that can transpire.
My Hot Friend is a contradiction in that it is both witty and warm while at the same time having a very powerful and meaningful edge. A smart cast of characters add colour and entertainment, with sharp dialogue and laugh-out-loud moments, while simultaneously highlighting some harsh home truths about life in the 21st century. There is a lot going on between those green covers so be prepared to be amused and thoughtful as you go on a journey with three thirty-somethings as they traverse the rollercoaster that is life today.
[ Bio ]
Sophie White lives in Dublin with her husband and three sons. She writes regularly for many Irish publications, including her weekly ‘Nobody Tells You’ column for the Sunday Independent LIFE magazine and also co-hosts two podcasts, Mother of Pod and The Creep Dive.
She is the author of four novels – Filter This, Unfiltered, The Snag List and Where I End – as well as two non-fiction books: Corpsing and Recipes for a Nervous Breakdown.