Books & Literature

Book Review: One Good Thing, by Alexandra Potter

FICTION: Utterly relatable, hilarious and heart-breakingly honest, this is a novel about friendship, finding happiness and living the life unexpected.

A warming winter read about finding the things that make life worth living.

One Good Thing is the latest book by the best-selling author of Confessions of a Forty-Something, Alexandra Potter. Confessions of a Forty-Something was so widely successful that it has been adapted into a new television series titled Not Dead Yet, starring Gina Rodriguez. It’s so exciting and worth the read before it’s available on streaming services.

Newley divorced Liv Brooks is determined to make a fresh start, escaping the hustle and bustle of London life to return to the Yorkshire Dales, where she spent most of her childhood. Feeling lost and alone, she adopts Harry, an old and frail dog from the local shelter.

On their daily walks around the village, they soon meet Valentine a lonely old man; Stanley, an anxious little boy; and Maya, a teenager angry at the world. But slowly, things start to change for everyone …

While One Good Thing follows a similar storyline as Confessions of a Forty-Something (a middle-aged divorcé rebuilding her life), One Good Thing feels deeper. The story follows the point of view of Liv while also giving the reader insight into the thoughts of Valentine, Stanley, and Maya. It’s done in a way that adds to the story and seamlessly moves it forward. While there are plenty of light-hearted moments, overall, it feels like a heavier story.

Liv is a relatable and likeable character I couldn’t help but root for. She begins the story as the fixer, the planner, and the person everyone relies on. Her character develops and evolves as she tries to make sense of things and settle into her new surroundings. Rather than taking the easy way out and blaming everyone else, Liv takes time to reflect and view her experiences with a good dose of self-awareness. This made for a more satisfying and believable ending.

Set in the Yorkshire Dales, the town is almost a character in its own right. Liv moves into a cosy cottage surrounded by breathtaking scenery near a quaint little English village. It was easy to imagine myself sitting next to her by the warm crackling fire as the storm raged outside. This is a testament to Potter’s ability to set the scene without detracting from the story.

Potter has a talent for writing relatable stories that blend a perfect balance of humour and heartbreak, exploring themes of friendship, finding happiness, chosen family and rebuilding. And there’s also reassurance that when everything falls apart, all you need is one good thing to turn your life around.

There is something about living through your worst-case scenario, and not just surviving it but fighting through it, growing, learning and becoming stronger. Alexandra Potter explores this in her latest novel in such an honest and relatable way. So, if you’re struggling through life, this might just be the feel-good story you need right now. This book pairs perfectly with a warm cup of tea in your cosy sweats while the rain pours outside.

Reviewed by Jessica Anne
Twitter: @littlejadventur

This review is the opinion of the reviewer and not Glam Adelaide.

Distributed by: Pan Macmillan Australia
Released: April 2022
RRP: $32.99

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