Review: No Hard Feelings
Updated: Jan 2
No Hard Feelings by Australian author Genevieve Novak had me flying through chapter after chapter! I am OBSESSED! I am all for sad girl/ millennial lit, I mean, don’t we all love a messy MC? Penny is a charming, loveable dumpster fire of a human with the lowest self esteem. Stuck in a job she has no passion for with a boss on a superiority trip, friends who are way more successful than she is and a situationship with her ex who makes sure to keep her close enough but not so close she can ever feel satisfied or content. She’s a mess, but she swears she’s doing her best!
Penny embodies the overwhelming anxiety and imposter syndrome we all feel in our 20’s, waiting for “that stage” in our life to be over and for our “real life” to begin. Her pessimism and self destructive tendencies drive the plot and her ability to overthink a situation or twist every good moment into an insult is unparalleled! But despite all this, you can’t help but voraciously devour each chapter hoping that eventually she’s going to wake up and figure it all out.
Not only does this story show a masterfully crafted wit and commentary, but it’s also set against the familiar bustling backdrop of local Melbourne haunts, with many mentions of our beautiful regional Victorian locales – grounding the story in such a way that you could possibly find yourself next to Penny on your train home one evening.
The story provides opportunities for both reflection and introspection. There’s a Penny in all of us, and just like we want for our scrappy MC, we all deserve more happiness than we allow ourselves to hope for in our darkest moments. As Penny confronts her own destructive behaviour and thought processes we are reminded that the work we do on ourselves is an ongoing process and maybe the only thing stopping our “real life” from starting is our over-romanticised notion that it’s something to be achieved in the first place. In reality, that “real life” is a mythical ever moving goal post, REAL life happens outside our comfort zone and in the small moments when we’re waiting for something else.