I’ve had Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll in my TBR pile for at least 4 years. I tried to start it on two separate occasions, and both times I was like “ugh, this bitch is too much of a perfectionist” and TifAni Fanelli annoyed me. But I decided to pick it back up and finally clear it from my TBR pile, either to finish it or DNF it for good.
Summary: Ani Fanelli has spent most of her adult life trying to forget the girl she used to be: TifAni Fanelli. Ani Fanelli is flawless: she’s fit, she’s stylish, she’s marrying the handsome and successful Luke, who comes from a very wealthy family. She seems to have it all. But she’s buried a secret from her past, one that she’s agreed to talk about in a documentary interview tell-all to finally reveal her side of the story. Will her carefully put-together facade of perfection finally crack?
My Review: It took me about 50 pages to really get into this book, but once I did, I couldn’t put it down. Jessica Knoll’s writing is stellar, and “Ani” is one of those bluntly honest characters who thinks all the horrible things we as women feel like we have to hide. She’s kinky bordering S&M, she’s mentally competing with every woman she meets (this I didn’t relate to as strongly, but that’s just because I’m not a real girl–makeup, hair, style, these are all things that are foreign to me and I have to try very hard to semi-succeed with). Ani was brutal. Her innermost thoughts were raw and honest, like the female protagonist in Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects (I still need to watch the movie). I love this kind of character.
Ani is the definition of cutthroat. She spent the majority of the book (the majority of her life) pretending to be this perfect, flawless princess in every way: perfect fiance, perfect body, perfect style. It was exhausting. I was exhausted for her. Once you started to realize why she was like this–both as a result of her mother who tried too hard to appear flawless and rich, and from the tragedy that she endured in high school–she became more likeable and relatable. She started to show a few kinks in her armor.
Ani’s relationship/encounter with Andrew was strange for me. I thought it was intentional, this scandalous thing, to ruin her perfect life. I think it started out that way, but turned out to be genuine affection.
I was thrilled with the ending, and I didn’t think she would go through with it: ending her engagement, ending her chance at the picture perfect life.
The thing I enjoyed most about this book was the tearing down of the desire for women to “have it all.” It’s such a farce. Even the most seemingly perfect women–perfect skin, expensive clothes, all the frills that have become affiliated with “having it all”–it’s such bullshit. Even the most seemingly perfect among us has flaws, as we see with Ani. This notion that any woman “has it all” is bullshit. Even the most composed and well put-together of us has issues.
Conclusion: Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll got 4 out of 5 stars for me. It was engaging, it kept me intrigued, and Ani’s character was right up my alley: a sarcastic, brutally honest bitch with fears and worries just like the rest of us.