Skilfully interweaving humour with pathos, Sunny is heartfelt and thought provoking. It is a poignant exploration of the impact of societal, cultural and family expectations, the changing nature of friendships and dating in the 21st century. The debut novel from comedian and Bridgerton actor, Sukh Ojla, Sunny is an honest and refreshing coming of age story.
On the outside thirty year-old Sunny is ‘sunny’ by nature; the upbeat, eternally single friend that is happy to share her disastrous dating stories to entertain her friends whilst they gladly settle down. Internally though Sunny is struggling.
As well as being in a dead end job following redundancy, she is now living back at home with her parents secretly comfort eating the stash of snacks she hides away in her childhood bedroom. Added to this Sunny is leading a double life; she miserably attempts to be the perfect Sikh daughter to her loving but protective parents, yet is also secretly using online dating apps in her futile search for ‘the One’, going to pubs and clubs and hiding gins-in-a-tin in her underwear drawer.
Sunny also cannot understand why the people she classed as her closest friends rarely come to visit her now that she is living back with her parents. Nor can she make sense of their comments. Are they being protective or are they being judgemental and passive aggressive? Even at times, racist?
Sukh Ojla uses her comedic talents to great effect in her writing as I found this novel really funny and witty. However the use of humour skilfully enhances the inner turmoil that Sunny is experiencing. This is powerfully depicted through Sunny’s relationship with her mum which changes as the novel progresses. I have to tell you, I absolutely adored Sunny’s mum! Especially when she demands to get involved in Sunny’s swiping action on Tinder, which she refers to as ‘The Tindle.’ 🙂
Although at times tacking uncomfortable subject matter, Sukh Ojla writing style is warm and engaging. Furthermore Sunny is such a stand out, loving character.
Sunny is a beautifully poignant novel as it explores the pressure of societal expectations in contemporary culture, and the impact these expectations can have on mental health and wellbeing. It is a novel about realising your own self worth.
Published today on World Book Day, 3 March 2022 by Hodder Studio, Sunny is a subtly powerful coming of age story.
Thank you to Ollie Martin from Hodder & Stoughton for my advance copy of Sunny in return for an honest review.
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