Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Book Review - Upside Down Inside Out by Monica Mcinerney

Upside Down Inside Out
Author: Monica Mcinerney
Publisher: Ballantine Books (June 24, 2008)

Eva Kennedy is in a rut. After seven years of working at her uncle’s Dublin delicatessen, her artistic aspirations have slipped by the wayside and her latest relationship has fizzled. Hoping to shake things up and find inspiration, Eva takes a break and ventures to Melbourne, Australia, to visit her old friend Lainey, who, for fun, gives her an exciting new identity. Eva is now exotic and adventurous and . . . not herself.

Joseph Wheeler is a successful London designer. Unfortunately his firm is thriving at such a high level that he doesn’t have time to actually design anymore. And his love life is nonexistent. In Australia on business, Joseph meets Eva, and the sparks fly–even as Eva is stuck pretending to be someone she’s not. Little does she know that Joseph has some secrets of his own. . . .

When what starts as a holiday fling quickly blossoms into something more, Joseph and Eva discover that romance can turn life upside down and inside out at the bottom of the world.


The first Monica Mcinerney book I read and thoroughly enjoyed was last year's The Faraday Girls. If you haven't read it yet, then I recommend you try it out. I had similar high expectations of this book and candidly speaking, I was disappointed. This book is a very easy, very fluffy chick lit where the principals pretend to be someone other than who they really are. Once romance is established, the characters naturally begin to wonder if their real-life persona will be a turn-off for their new love.

I'm not saying the book sucks. No, it's a light, semi-enjoyable read - perfect for the beach, actually. But there's nothing complex about it, except for the small, heart-breaking bit about Joseph's dad. Other than that, the story is highly predictable, and somewhat monotonous. The one thing I truly liked about it was the setting. From Ireland to Australia, where ever the characters go, the author manages to infuse life into the surroundings with engaging descriptions of people and places. Joseph's profession of Industrial design, Eva's plans for a deli and what's inherent with running a self-made business, the risks, planning etc are other interesting factors. The romance itself is simple and charming, nothing out of the ordinary - except, of course, for the pretense bit.

The whole 'Niamh' spelling thing really bugged me. The abrupt change of careers (for Joseph particularly), the unexplained mystery of the whole 'won't touch cat', are some of the other things I couldn't wrap my brain around. The humor, if any, is nothing remarkable and neither is the whole 'will they or won't they' romance bit.

In Short
Read it without any great expectations and you probably won't be disappointed.

Buy the Book - here.
Visit the Author's site - here.
Visit the Publisher - here.


  1. I haven't yet managed to read any of Monica McInerney's earlier books, but I did read The Alphabet Sisters and Family Baggage and enjoyed those a lot. I have The Faraday Sisters here to get to eventually!

  2. I haven't read those. I'll put them on my wish-list. Thanks for the recommendation, Marg!

  3. How disappointing. I loved The Faraday Girls and thought about trying this book next. Like Marg, I recommend The Alphabet Sisters and Family Baggage. Same author, but I thought they were of similar quality. Not too fluffy if I remember correctly.