Thursday 21 November 2019

Book review : How To Be Perfect - Holly Wainwright

Back in the summer, you may remember that I reviewed Holly Wainwright's debut novel, The Mummy Bloggers. (Click through for that review.) That first novel looked at three bloggers, the apparently "perfect mum" Ella Campbell, with her guilt-free snacks, perfectly dressed boys and airbrushed photos, Abi Black, big-mouthed, eco-friendly, lesbian and feminist (oh, and as it happens, ex-wife to Ella Black's husband) and Leisel Adams, the over-worked mum blogger who just happens to be the sister of the girlfriend of Abi Black. Confused ? That's just the beginning ! Slogging it out to win a prestigious (and well-paid) blogger competition, Ella is ultimately revealed to be a complete fake and strides off into the sunset.

Well, in How To Be Perfect, she's back, with a brand new blog but an equally big ego. She has a new, rich boyfriend, a brand new money-making retreat for women looking to mimic her "perfect" lifestyle (think disgusting smoothies and lots of yoga) and a brand new pay-to-view blog. She has totally abandoned her ex-husband and her two little boys, who have ended up living on his other ex Abi Black's farm, along with her wife-to-be Grace and their own brood of kids. The third blogger from the original book puts in a brief appearance, but in this novel, we have a new character, Frances. As a new mum, she is feeling inferior to the mothers on her WhatsApp group and is determined that if she can just get the cash together to treat herself to a break at Ella's retreat, everything will be hunky dory.

If you've read the first book, it's great to catch up with all the old characters and see how their lives have developed, but it could also be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel. Mums of babies, toddlers and teenagers will all recognise themselves with a smile when reading the story. While Ella was portrayed as the ruthless villain of the piece in the previous novel, this book offers a more rounded approach - she is still very selfish and totally self-absorbed but she is also quite vulnerable, needing a bit of a helping hand to get herself out of the (new) mess that she has created.

It's a fun read that will put a smile on your face, whatever stage of parenting you're at !

star rating : 4.5/5

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.


  1. Missed your last review - really sounds my cup of tea - new author too

  2. A pay per view blog sounds inspiring! Not. :) I remember reading your review of the 1st book in the series. The influencers of any kind with the so called perfect life always make me roll my eyes. There's plenty of them on Insta, and some of them look so fake, it's bizarre than anyone would buy into the idea.

    1. Yes, I totally agree ! I definitely prefer a "warts and all" type of blogging !

  3. I would pick up the book on the basis of the title alone but your review has made it even more tempting. Thank you!


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