Jessica Bradley has it all: the perfect boyfriend; influential healthy-eating blog; successful PR company and wonderful daughter, Anna. Or at least that is what her thousands of followers believe.
The truth is, her boyfriend just broke up with her in four words on a post-it; her zest for healthy-eating has all but disappeared; her PR success is all reliant on her now not-so-honest online-life and she just got caught eating her daughter’s Coco-Pops.
So as they say: fake it ‘til you make it. A few little white lies and phoney smiling selfies and Jess can keep up appearances. But when her real-life starts to spiral out of control how can Jess tell the truth from the lies? And will she be able to seize real happiness when it is right in front of her?
What’s the last status you posted on social media?
Easy question, right?
Now here’s a harder one.
Why did you post it?
We’ve all become used to giving our friends, family and followers daily updates, but have you ever stopped to consider what you’re choosing to share and what you’re choosing to hold back?
These are two questions that preoccupied me when I first sat down to write ‘Everything is Fine.’
Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty much on Twitter every five minutes, and without Facebook there are so many ex-colleagues and distant friends I’d probably have lost contact with by now. But I’d be the first to admit that the person I seem to be on social media doesn’t quite match with the person my family get the pleasure of spending each and every day with.
It’s not a deliberate deception. I don’t use filters, don’t post anything I don’t agree with. I don’t tell outright lies. It’s just that the statuses I tend to post are usually about funny things that have happened during my day – things the kids have said, moments that have caused a smile.
My last post on Twitter was about stepping in a puddle of wee.
But believe it or not, stepping in a puddle of wee only took a couple of seconds. And there were many more moments in the day I chose not to share. I didn’t post about the fact that I’d been close to tears due to an unusually heavy workload earlier in the day. I didn’t post about the fact I was well and truly having a ‘my bum looks enormous’ day. I failed to mention that part of my day was spent trying to make awkward conversation with the bloke who’d come to fix a leaky pipe.
I focused on the glamorous puddle moment in the hope that it would make readers laugh. Because that’s the part of me that I want to share.
In ‘Everything is Fine’ I take this idea to its extreme. Jessica Bradley is a woman who posted a couple of gym selfies and suddenly found herself branded a fitness influencer. This has changed her life, and also meant she’s suddenly got dozens of new clients knocking on the door of her little PR business.
As a result, she’s stuck in a role she didn’t choose, and feels beholden to her followers and forced to continue to hone her abs, even though she’d rather reach for a Dime bar than a dumbbell.
Then, things get worse. Her boyfriend – someone whose sexy selfies net her a lot of likes – leaves her and she’s asked to represent brands that go against her principles. But what can she do? The truth is she’s trapped – too worried about losing her following to consider what’s happening in her real life.
Everything is Fine focuses on the hilarious disconnect between Jessica’s real and online lives, but has a serious message too.
Can we really find ‘real’ happiness in a fake world?
Thank you, Gillian Harvey
About the author
I’m an author and freelance writer, currently living in France with my five young children and long-suffering husband.
My debut novel ‘Everything is Fine’ was released by Orion Fiction in May 2020 (UK) and is due for release in paperback in January in the US.
My second novel ‘Perfect on Paper’ is due for UK release in May 2021.