Review: Maggie’s Going Nowhere by Rose Hartley

Title: Maggie’s Going Nowhere

Author: Rose Hartley

Published: 7th January 2020, Michael Joseph

Read an Extract

Status: Read January 2020 courtesy Penguin Australia


My Thoughts:

Maggie’s Going Nowhere is a charming and hilarious debut from Rose Hartley.

Devoted to avoiding hard work and responsibility, twenty-nine year old Maggie Cotton may finally have to grow up when she is dumped by her boyfriend, loses her place at University, disinherited by her mother, and slapped with an outrageous debt by Centerlink.

Forced to take her first steps towards independence, Maggie moves into a shabby 1960’s caravan with no running water, electricity, or toilet facilities, that she parks out the front of her best friend’s house, and grudgingly takes a volunteer position at a charity in order to keep her Newstart payments.

Maggie’s Going Nowhere feels like a coming-of-age tale for the millennial generation, some of whom seem determined to extend adolescence by a decade.

In truth, Maggie is the sort of character that I would despair of in real life, and that I usually find frustrating in fiction. She’s entitled, irresponsible, insensitive, and unapologetic, so it’s to Hartley’s credit that I actually found her likeable, and even somewhat endearing. Maggie’s confidence is appealing, her lack of tact is refreshing, and her loyalty to her best friend Jen is sincere.

Jen has the patience of a saint, not only with Maggie, but also with her own fiancé Johnno, whom Maggie refers to as ‘The King of Arseholes’. I liked the author’s depiction of these relationships, and the acknowledgement that even having it all- a home of your own, a steady job, and committed relationship – is no guarantee of a happy ever after.

Given her history of sabotaging her romantic relationships, (in the worst way possible), Maggie’s crush on fellow volunteer Rueben, a sexy ex-con focused on taking responsibility for himself, seems destined for failure, but convincing him otherwise proves to be surprising motivation for her, and I couldn’t help but hope that Maggie would finally get everything she wants, even if it’s nothing she perhaps deserves.

Fast paced and thoroughly entertaining, I really enjoyed Maggie’s Going Nowhere, and I’m happy to recommend it.


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