“The Life and Love (Attempts) of Kitty Cook” by Helen Aitchison

Kitty has a perfect life. She has a job she loves and is good at. She has fantastic friends and caring, supportive parents. But then, one brick falls out of the wall of her structured and mainly satisfying life. Determined to fix it, Kitty embarks on a journey that promises adventure and excitement. Although she knows that even on a pleasure cruise you can encounter a storm, Kitty can’t imagine what awaits her.

When we meet Kitty Cook in “The Life and Love (Attempts) of Kitty Cook” by Helen Aitchison, she has just broken up with her boyfriend of many years. They lived together for not so long, but they dated for much longer. So, even though it was clear their relationship doesn’t work, for Kitty, it wasn’t an easy decision to ask Liam to leave. While trying to adjust to life alone, with an empty chair at the dinner table and a similarly empty bed, Kitty decides to give online dating a try. Life without love feels as empty as her house.

Reading about Kitty’s dates made me remember my own online dating experience. Two decades ago, many aspects of it were different. People weren’t as savvy as they are now, and I certainly didn’t even think about taking pepper spray in my bag on a date. Besides, “matching algorithms” I believe weren’t sophisticated back then. Still, some things never change. Human nature remains more or less the same across centuries and continents. Some of Kitty’s dates make me giggle, so similar men’s behaviour was to what I myself had seen. It is rather astonishing, to be honest, that even people with let’s call it peculiar fantasies about relationships aren’t unique.

I thoroughly enjoyed living through the challenging time of exploring the online dating maze together with Kitty. She is someone you’d love to be friends with in real life. Besides, I could relate to many of her daily routines. Gym and weekly food shopping are the things I stick religiously to as well. With one tiny difference that food shopping has moved into an online area. I still like to browse virtual shelves, check what’s on offer, wonder at some really strange items, and end up buying mainly the same things every week.

Kitty meets different men on her search-for-love spree. Some don’t look like the pictures they posted on their profiles. Others aren’t who they pretended to be. Kitty has a few rather disturbing dates when things seem to be getting a little out of control. She does manage to get out of such situations, and sometimes the solutions she finds become long-term anecdotes among her friends.

“The Life and Love (Attempts) of Kitty Cook” is a lovely story that left a warm feeling after I turned the last page. 

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