Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland

17 Aug 2017

I'm finally doing another book review! They're actually one of my favourite posts to write, but things have been a bit busy for me, so I haven't started or finished a book in what feels like forever. I feel like they're one of my most honest posts and I could ramble on about books for ages, so it was about time that I got another one up. This one, as you will know from the title, is all about Louise Pentland's debut novel, Wilde Like Me. I've never been one to get on board the YouTuber book/product train, but I absolutely love Louise's content and I was excited to learn that her book was aimed at adults. I'm also partial to a bit of chic-lit, in amongst my YA and magical realism, so for those reasons, I decided to pre-order her book and give it a whirl! Now, I will be totally honest with my opinions of this book, even though I watch Louise's videos and read her blog. I will also keep this review spoiler-free, as always!

'Does anyone else out there feel like me?'

Robin Wilde is an awesome single mum. She's great at her job. Her best friend Lacey and bonkers Auntie Kath love her and little Lyla to the moon and back. From the outside, everything looks just fine.

But Robin has a secret.

Behind the mask she carefully applies every day, things sometimes feel... grey. And lonely. She struggles to fit in with the school-mum crew. Online dating is despair-inducing, and how can she give her little girl the very best when, honestly, some days it's hard to find a clean pair of knickers.

After 4 years (and 2 months and 24 days) of single-mum-dom, Robin realises it's time to get out there and Change. Her. Life!

Will Robin seize the possibilities she creates for herself? And what surprises does her life have in store if she does?

From the get-go, the blurb makes it pretty clear what this book is about. There's no euphemism or metaphors at all. It's about a struggling single mum who realises that her actions can change her state of being. That transparency is great because you really know what you're getting, so you can be sure right then and there whether you'd like to purchase the book or not. I'd normally do a little segment here where I elaborate on the blurb, but I really don't have to this time!

Ok, I'll start off by saying that it took me a little while to get through this book. If you've read my post about beating procrastination, you'll know that I filled most of my spare time with Wilde Like Me, but before that week, I'd got into a bit of a rut with it. I found the beginning to get more and more boring as I went on, and I ended up just not picking the book up again for a while. I just got a bit sick of the constant reference to The Emptiness over and over again within the first 100 pages, and the self-pitying loop (I'll get on to that a bit more later), but I was determined to finish it. I was pleased to see that the last third of the book was much better and there was a lot more substance to it. Of course, as this is a typical, rom-com-type of women's fiction, there was no massive action scene or blood and gore, just know that the story does pick up considerably towards the end. It was still a little dry in places, but this was something that I kind of expected from a story that was written to be 'real.'
I've read a few reviews of this book online and many of them agree with me on this point. Robin Wilde is not someone that I'd want to be friends with. On the back of the book, Louise has written 'Meet Robin Wilde! You'll make a friend for life and she'll take you on a journey you'll never forget,' but I just don't see it. I can understand that life may be a struggle for Robin, but the constant 'poor me' attitude and inner monologues about The Emptiness are just too much. She doesn't appreciate the people she has around her and she was very self-centred, as well as having the habit of blowing things out of proportion. But that being said, there were times that I found her relatable. In her ditzy moments, I found myself thinking 'that's totally something that would happen to me,' but apart from that, I found her very hard to sympathise with.

Louise has always expressed her views on feminism and equality, but I found that Robin didn't really fit into that and it irked me a little bit. In amongst Robin's self-pitying, she constantly expresses the need for a man and pins The Emptiness down to this lack of a partner, which is just absolutely bizarre to me. I don't know if this is because I've never been a single mum or divorced, but I just find it so odd that Robin is meant to be this kick-ass single mum, yet spends her time moping over not having a boyfriend. For me, The Emptiness was down to something else and I would've liked to see a journey through therapy for Robin and exploring the reality of mixing that with life. She also has negative thoughts about many of the women around her, including Auntie Kath, who I absolutely loved and wanted to hug when Robin was being a cow. She seems to get kicks out of comparing herself to other women and slyly insulting them to make herself feel better. She also refers to her body on multiple occasions as 'normal size,' but what does that mean? We're living in a society now that is pushing the idea of 'no normal size,' so I'm not exactly sure where Louise was going with that.

One thing I did love was the writing style. I haven't read too many books that are as informal as this book, and it's quite nice! While I don't think these are things that should feature in more high brow literature or spoken out loud, seeing phrases like 'good af' and 'bants' was kind of heartwarming. It's almost written as if Louise was writing a blog post, which definitely makes the text more consumable and easy to read. I know that that isn't for everyone, but as a blogger, I kind of like it. The only thing that lets it down is the editing. There are typos and passages that are so clunky that it's almost difficult to read, and that's not Louise's fault, but the editor's. I'm not sure that this book was checked over with a fine-toothed comb as I could pick up on mistakes straight away - maybe it had to be published quickly - but they shouldn't have been difficult for an editor to spot.

Usually, I'd say a little bit about trigger warnings, but I don't think there's much needed in the way of that. The topics of physical abuse, possible infertility (I say 'possible' because it's never really clear whether the character involved is infertile or not) and sex, but they aren't really expanded on too much. I would say that the main trigger warning I would give is for depression/mental health issues, so if that's something that you think may effect you negatively, then maybe skip this book.
Overall, I'd say that this is a bit of a fluffy, light read that won't really change the world. I think I had set my bar a bit too high, leaving me slightly disappointed. There were elements of the book I enjoyed, but there were also things that weren't that great, so if I had to give it a star rating, it's would probably be about 2.5/5. It's not a book that requires too much thought and you can quite easily put it down, leave it for a few weeks and pick it back up knowing exactly what's going on because there isn't too much to the story. It's a bit of a holiday pool-side read, so if that sounds like something you might enjoy, absolutely go for it!

Despite this book not sitting well with me, I would like to see where Louise goes with it, considering that the ending is pretty open. I may end up borrowing it from someone instead of buying it though.
What are your thoughts on this book?

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  1. I've had this book sat on my coffee table waiting to be read to little over a month! I have been struggling to find the time to read it! Now after your review I'm so excited to get started on it! Thank you! x x

    1. Ah it's good that my review hasn't put you off too much! x