A woman goes through a break-up via the shopping list pinned to her fridge. Unusual concept.
The title of each chapter is one of the items on the list. Mainly food but always something ordinary and mundane. The connection is equally ordinary and mundane.
Narrated by the woman in the majority of chapters, interspersed with a couple from the ex-boyfriend, friend and a bunch of people referred to as the 'Girls', the story flits from schooldays internet banter to the early days of the relationship to the aftermath of the break-up. What we learn from this is that the woman is passive and prepared to go along with the wishes of everyone else. Aspects of her personality are selected as needed, like taking from a shelf. In effect, this is the story of identity and how the protagonist attempts to forge one when she finds herself alone.
There is nothing dramatic or even slightly significant in this story to demonstrate how an identity is being formed or reclaimed. Page after page of dull shopping trips and emptying bedpans strain to hold the attention. Francini writes well but the content is way too drab.
Published by Penguin on 29 August 2019. Advanced review copy received by the publisher.