Review: 'The Defining Act of Alexa Davies' by Alice Burden (2015)
Alexa Davies is on the brink of a quarter-life crisis. Juggling her acting career with an awful nannying job, she finds herself locked in an ongoing battle with her nightmarish boss and, it seems, the entire acting industry. But a trip to Los Angeles, and an encounter with a surprisingly appealing boy, forces Alexa to confront her job demons and, with the help of her friends, make some grown up decisions.
Stemming from the popular monthly ‘Chelsea Nanny’ column, which has been published in the Kensington, Chelsea & Westminster Today newspaper since December 2012, this novel explores the frustrating, sometimes heart-breaking, often funny lives of a disenfranchised generation trying to navigate their way through life in London.
Author Alice Burden began writing 'Chelsea Nanny', an anonymous fictional column in Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster Today about the lives of families in London, in December 2012. Inspired by her column, she wrote her debut novel 'The Defining Act of Alexa Davies' which focuses on the life of a twenty-something London-based nanny and was published through Amazon in March 2015. Several months ago I was contacted by Alice Burden about possibly reviewing her novel and I straight away liked the sound of it. It took me a bit longer than expected to finally pick up the novel, but I'm happy to finally share my review today!
Twenty-something Alexa Davies lives in London where she is trying to build up her career as an actress. Until she has the big break she is hoping for, she earns her rent by working as a nanny; a job she doesn't love, but also doesn't completely hate. When she goes on a trip to LA to visit her best friend, certain things happen which have quite an impact on her life. Alexa realises it is time for her to make some important decisions regarding her love life and career, but is she ready to make these significant choices and decide where she wants to go in life, and with whom?
'The Defining Act of Alexa Davies' is a relatively short novel with roughly 220 pages and a read that managed to surprise me. I have to admit I wasn't too sure about what to expect when I started the book, but I was quickly intrigued by the main character, Alexa, and her life, and found myself going through the book within just two sittings. There is no incredibly exciting plot with a lot of twists and turns at the core of this story, but what Alice Burden does, she does really well. It was easy for me to like and relate to Alexa, a twenty-something still deciding what exactly she wants in life and whom she wants to share it with, and I think numerous readers will feel the same way.
The author has a captivating and well-paced writing style which I personally really enjoyed. The book has a bit of a strange chapter division, though; I think more shorter chapters would have suited the book better. However, Alexa and her friends and family certainly made an impression and I'd love to read more about them, just like I'd love to read more of the author's work. Overall, 'The Defining Act of Alexa Davies' is a light-hearted, witty and relatable novel about the life of a twenty-something searching for what she wants from life; a thoroughly enjoyable and not too complicated read and a promising debut novel!