Opening sentence: “30,167 people know how Elle and Adrian met.”
I have to say, I do enjoy a contemporary, topical novel and this definitely ticks those boxes. The rise of the ‘mummy blogger’ in recent years has been well documented and since having my first baby 3 years ago, I am (digitally) acquainted with a fair few of them. At this point, the market is saturated; a quick hashtag search on Instagram will show you how many women now document their lives as mums. Some are good, some are boring, but the ones that grow and gain popularity have a niche, a selling point. The blogs I particularly like don’t sugarcoat the reality of how hard bringing up children can actually be. I’ve even read a book written by a mummy blogger: Hurrah for Gin by Katie Kirby. She is an example of how influential these women can be, how their blogs can grow big enough to get them a book deal.
That’s why the plot of this book feels so real; in it we meet three successful mummy bloggers, so successful, in fact, that they have all been nominated for a prestigious Blog-ahh award due to each having an all-important distinct niche. We have the Insta-perfect mum Elle Campbell of The Stylish Mumma, the working mum Leisel Adams of, um, The Working Mum and the all-organic-everything mum Abi Black of The Green Diva. Aside from their mutual nominations, the women know each other IRL, but that’s not to say they all get along… Growing their blog following is important to all of them and winning the award guarantees publicity and a cash prize. They will do whatever it takes to come out on top and won’t let the truth stand in the way of their goal.
Leisel was my favourite mummy blogger in the story, she represents such a huge chunk of women trying to juggle work and children and felt more relatable to me than an organic mummy or Elle, yes Elle… she is a character that has absolutely no redeeming features; she is self-obsessed, scheming, throws everyone she loves under the bus, tells a truly terrible, terrible lie all in the name of getting more blog traffic and – to top it all off – is a shoddy mother who has absolutely no interest in her children while pretending online that she does.
Author Holly Wainwright works for Australian lifestyle website Mamamia and hosts her own parenting podcast, so she knows her topic very well. I’m guessing she’s met more than one mummy blogger in the course of her job, but it’s hard to work out from the tone of the book if she actually likes ‘mummy bloggers’ or not… She has created three extreme versions of typical stereotypes and none are portrayed in the most positive way (see above Elle description), so it feels like she is satirising rather than celebrating the genre. Not that this is a bad thing from a reader’s point-of-view, more extreme characters always make for a more interesting read! Especially if its on a topic that you have an interest in, as I do here.
I really enjoyed this read, it kept me turning the pages and was often funny, plus the overall theme – don’t believe everything you see on social media – raises an important discussion point; there is now a major shift towards the authentic on social media, people want genuine content, we are savvy enough to see a staged photo and scroll on by, so just how long can bloggers who rely on skirting the truth for clicks keep their momentum going? Whether you’re a mummy or not, this is an interesting look at the world of blogging!
/ Published by Legend Press June 2019
/ 288 pages
/ Rating: 4/5
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