Trip ‘n Die, by Meg Frith

Having read some rather “heavy” novels recently, I was really looking forward to something lighthearted – there’s nothing like a bit of chick-lit to relax at the end of the day. I know you should never judge a book by its cover but when I spotted Meg Frith’s Trip ‘n Die – once you’ve seen the cover, you’ll know what I mean – I knew that this was the right read for my mood and exactly what I needed to get me through my new daily commute.

Meg Frith, Auckland based and self-confessed terrible cook, can happily leave the cooking to someone else as she is far more valuable at her writing desk. Trip ‘n Die, her first novel, has already won her the New Zealand Classics First Novel Award as well as the hearts of many a reader.

Trip ‘n Die is unlike any other novel I have read in the chick-lit genre. We are introduced into the world of Jennifer Cornwall, a twenty-year-old comfort eater dealing with unruly red hair, trapped in a dull job and leading a rather uneventful life. That is until one boozy evening when her flatmate suggests she see a clairvoyant. Misinterpretation of the reading sets Jennifer off on a self-improvement regime that will have you laugh out loud (or stifling a giggle depending on where you read) and shedding a tear or two (unfortunately there’s no hiding that where ever you read).

Jennifer Cornwall is an odd one in this day and age – it’s not often you meet a twenty year old that doesn’t own a mobile phone or know how to use Google – yet this gives her character an old soul quality that works for this story. She’s kindhearted, naïve, prone to misinterpretation and socially awkward which makes her all the more loveable.

Frith’s style is a refreshing take on the genre and her sense of humour had me suppressing my laughter during the daily commute. Frith reveals Jennifer Cornwall’s character in an open and honest way, no holds barred, in what can almost be described as an inner monologue, not unlike the usual diary format often used to the same effect.

It’s this honesty that makes Jennifer feel like a good friend by the second chapter and by the final page you’re at an absolute loss, wanting more from our leading lady. Jennifer Cornwall has the makings of a Kiwi Bridget Jones, just slightly less technically savvy and with slightly more disorderly hair.

Trip ‘n Die is fun and heart warming, a journey of strengths, weaknesses, carbohydrates and wine. I cannot recommend it highly enough and can only say that I cannot wait for Meg Frith to finish her next novel.

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Hannah is an interior designer, stylist and writer living in Nelson. A Brit/Cloggy among Kiwis, whether she’s busy with floor plans or fabrics, she’ll always find the time to read and will never leave the house without a good book in her bag – or sometimes two or three! Hannah especially enjoys reading women’s fiction, biographies and the classics.

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