Ever felt like you don’t know what you’re doing? Did life not exactly live up to the plans your thirteen-year-old self made? Are you sure that everyone else has it figured out and you’re the only one who doesn’t? Well, guess what, you’re not actually alone! From time to time, we all feel like f**k ups! And finally, Alexandra Potter dared to say it in her phenomenal book Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up.
With extreme humor and realism, Potter decides to get a few things off her chest and finds out all of us have a few things we need to share. Maybe we’re not all f**k ups after all, maybe we just need to open up and get some support from our tribe. And it’s the perfect time to read the novel that inspired the show, as Not Dead Yet returns for season two this week!
[Warning: My review of Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up contains some spoilers!]
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This was so not the plan, as told in Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up
Nell Stevens has hit a wall. She thought she knew exactly where she’d be at forty-something: married to a handsome husband, living in a big house, mothering 2.5 kids, and crushing it with a great career. Instead, she’s walking away from her fiancé, leaving behind a failed business, and moving back home to start over, and childless.
Meanwhile, all her old friends have married and started popping out babies. While Nell loves to visit with them, it makes her feel like she’s messing up her whole life. Even though she’s not sure if she wants kids of her own at all (the best part about being a fun auntie is giving them back when you’re done!)
Nell has been getting in touch with old work contacts looking for a new job, but so far, nothing has come along. Then an old college offers her a job writing up obituaries. It’s not exactly Nell’s ideal job, and the pay is nowhere near enough to support a life in London, but it’s better than nothing.
Alexandra Potter preaches the power of moving forward
Nell’s very first obituary is for the famed playwright Monty Williamson. After doing some research, Nell heads over to speak to Monty’s widow, Catherine. And it’s the best thing that ever happened to her. Instead of a frail old lady overcome with grief, Nell is greeted by a vibrant eighty-year-old with more energy than most five-year-olds.
Introducing herself as Cricket, Monty’s widow smashes all Nell’s expectations. Not just about Cricket herself, but about old age and life in general. The two become close friends. Nell helps Cricket deal with Monty’s death just by being there and letting her feel things. Cricket helps Nell move on with her life by showing her that forty isn’t too old to start over and that plans are overrated.
Cricket doesn’t just inspire Nell to keep living. Her love of podcasts gives Nell the idea to start one of her own. Nell’s intentions are just to vent some of her frustrations at life and plans and feeling less than. After some brainstorming, she decides to call it “Confessions of a Forty-Something F*ck Up”.
She doesn’t really think that anyone will listen, but Nell hopes that just getting things off her chest will help her feel better. And if she reaches just one other woman out there who feels like she’s failing, it’ll be worth it. Because then neither of them will be alone. There will be two of them, and like Cricket says, two is a tribe.
Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up is the book we all needed
Because deep down, we all feel like Nell sometimes. Even if it looks like we have it together on the outside, inside we’re beating ourselves up for every little mistake, and certain that everyone else is doing this thing we call life better than we are.
Once Nell admitted that she felt like a failure, it opened the gates for everyone else to say, “Wait, no, you’re not the failure I am.” This helped us all realize that no one is perfect, we’re all a bit of a f*ck up, which means that we’re actually all doing fine! We just have to allow ourselves to make mistakes and not crucify ourselves for them.
Let me tell you, I felt this book in my core, and I’m not even a forty-something f*ck up, I’m only a thirty-something f*ck up! The humor that Potter brings to the subject helps to bring things into focus. And it turns what could be a very dreary, heavy, depressing story into an exciting and fun adventure.
Thank you, Alexandra Potter and Nell, for creating a tribe of not just two but countless women who just needed some support to see how much they were actually crushing it, not f*cking it up!
Check out Not Dead Yet on ABC
Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up has been brought to our television screens. Last year, ABC debuted Not Dead Yet, based on Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up. There are some changes. In the show, Nell sees the ghosts of the people that she’s writing obituaries for, and learns life lessons from them. It makes the obituaries a lot more important than they were in the book, and it gives Cricket’s role to all the random ghosts.
This gives Not Yet Dead a supernatural feel instead of the firmly grounded story it was in the book. But the show keeps the humor intact, and that’s what made Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up so great. So it’s still an awesome show that’s worth checking out, even if it’s a bit different than the source material. Season 2 of Not Yet Dead premieres on ABC on February 7th, 2024 at 8:30 pm ET.
Alexandra Potter’s novel is a must-read for everyone
Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up is aimed at middle-aged women, but honestly, everyone will love it. The humor helps make it accessible to everyone, and there is even a storyline that highlights male angst and fears over being a f*ck up.
In our fast-paced society that’s so focused on achievement and perfection, it’s easy to feel like a failure. Let’s face it, there’s always some part of your life that could be better. After reading Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up, you’ll realize that it doesn’t matter. Nothing’s ever going to be perfect, so just do your best and keep trying. And remember that everyone else feels the same way!
My Rating: 10/10
Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up by Alexandra Potter is available now from HarperCollins! Let us know your thoughts if you’ve read this novel or have watched ABC’s Not Dead Yet on social media @mycosmiccircus or in The Cosmic Circus Discord.
Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up by Alexandra Potter is currently available as a Kindle book, hardcover, paperback or audiobook. You can use this Amazon affiliate link to order it. We include affiliate links on books that our reviewers find are of high quality and enjoyed, and hope you will appreciate them too. As Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases you make via these links.