Insatiable, by Daisy Buchanan, is a deceptively melancholy worth about happiness and self-worth

Based on the cover quotes alone, proclaiming Insatiable to be "filthy", "funny" and "raucous", I was expecting this book to be a light and fun read, without much in the way of intellectual stimulation.

In contrast, I found Insatiable to be a melancholy work, ruminating on the intersections of success and happiness, self-worth and the value placed on women's youth, beauty and supplicance in the face of power.

Violet is in her mid-20s and in the midst of an existential crisis when she meets Lottie, an older, richer and more sophisticated woman at a gallery event.

This chance encounter leads Violet into a world she didn't know existed, of rich decadence, sexual adventure and the promise of a lucrative new job.

The further she travels into Lottie's world, the more bizarre it is revealed to be, until Violet realises that there is something sinister lurking beneath the charm and indulgence of Lottie and her friends.

This is a gripping novel, and one that is as titillating as it is confronting. Buried between the pages and pages of graphic sexual encounters and the millennial monologues about fashion, is a vulnerable and engaging protagonist who is representative of so many young women trying to align the lives they lead on social media to their realities.

Violet wants adventure and opulence, but is also aware deep down that she actually needs genuine human connection and purpose to succeed.

Her obsession with Lottie and her cabal of rich older friends is really a distraction from her loneliness, the broken relationships of her past, and her crippling lack of confidence.

This is a beautifully written book, but the suggestion that it is in any way funny was perplexing to me.

The scenes that could be considered more slapstick or humorous instead left me feeling sad and distressed.

Violet's eating disorder, her deep social anxiety, her sense of pointlessness are too grim to act as punchlines, and instead offer the opportunity to examine the disconnect between the lives we claim to have online versus the lived reality that occurs behind closed doors.

Aside from the jarring attempts at humour, the progress of Violet's character development, and the gradual awakening of her to the more sinister and dysfunctional characteristics of her new older friends was managed masterfully by Buchanan.

What initially feels like the trivial turbulence of a typical millennial young woman's life in London gradually forms the backdrop of a deeper narrative on relationships, superficiality, and the expectations of what success looks like in the modern world.

This story A deceptively melancholy book about self-worth first appeared on The Canberra Times.