The Wrong Knickers by Bryony Gordon (audiobook)

In brief: The story of Bryony’s twenties, from the tiny flat to the nights out to the crazy affairs.

The good: Never a dull moment.

The not-so-good: I was kind of sad when Bryony stopped living a crazy lifestyle (yes yes, I know it wasn’t sustainable but it was a good story!)

Why I chose it: Lots of Twitter noise (my evening is am in the UK, so I see a lot of UK book related tweets)

Year: 2014

Duration: 7 hours 15 minutes (book is 288 pages)

Narrator: Sophie Bleasdale

Publisher: Headline Digital

The Wrong Knickers first came to my attention on Twitter, as my evening is morning in the UK and hence my feed is full of bookish thoughts from there. I didn’t know that Bryony Gordon was a well-known journalist in the UK, I just thought she’d written a memoir of her twenties. I didn’t know what she was up to nowadays. That didn’t detract from my enjoyment of this audiobook at all, I think it probably added to it as I didn’t think Bryony’s crazy days were ever going to end!

Growing up, Bryony dreamed of being the highly cool person in her twenties that we’ve all thought we were going to be. How many of us actually made it to the cool job, awesome flat and fantastic boyfriend? Bryony’s twenties were much closer to what we could all relate to – the dodgy one room studio in the even dodgier area, the awful boyfriends and the drunken nights out. I felt a kind of empathy with Bryony, she had that life that everyone did but nobody ever dared to admit. She dropped out of college, getting a job as a dogsbody on a newspaper that eventually led to greater things. She had nights where she didn’t recall where she went or how she ended up at the place she awoke. She had crazy times with friends. There were drugs involved. There was a payday lender. There were all the things you thought nobody else did, but Bryony did it all.

What was best though was that Bryony made no excuses. Sure, she screwed up royally many times but she never tried to duck for cover. To use an Aussie phrase, she copped it sweet (took it on the chin). She survived her twenties and turned out quite normal by all accounts but with a number of cringe worthy and hilarious tales to tell. Getting given the wrong knickers by a one night stand? Check. Throwing the mother of all parties in a one room flat? Check. Meeting a work colleague at the STD clinic? Yep. Giving a sympathy pash? Done.

Although Bryony’s life seemed to be teetering on the edge of no return at times, never did it seem like she’d lost control. Perhaps it was the way the story was written or perhaps it was that Bryony herself knew that this period was only temporary: that love and stability would soon be found and she’d settle on to the straight and narrow. The beginning of her more ‘adult’ life chronicled in the book was a little less exciting to hear about, but I felt glad for Bryony and that she’d survived her various horrors. Her writing style was easy to listen to (Sophie Bleasdale was a wonderful narrator, with just the right hint of embarrassment in her voice at times) and very friendly, like a good mate. She tells the story warts and all, which made for a great fascination for me. I couldn’t wait to see what mess she’d land herself in next. There have been comparisons to Bridget Jones’ Diary, but I think that this is different – this is somebody’s real life we’re talking about, not insta-messaging Hugh Grant in the office. It’s that little bit more can’t look away from by knowing that it’s real. But, if you are a fan of Bridget or the Sex and the City girls, or just enjoy a good confessional involving outlandish deeds…you certainly won’t be disappointed by Bryony’s story.

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