So how would I sum up my thoughts on Louise Pentland’s Wilde Like Me: a bit bloody disappointing I’d have to say. It had an ok start, a pretty blah middle but then improved in the final third of the book, therefore slightly redeeming itself after I’d got to the point of almost giving up and not caring about Robin. And I guess that’s the main problem for me and one that I struggled to get past; I didn’t care about the main character.
There just wasn’t enough depth and it’s not that I didn’t empathise with her – I’m sure that this book doesn’t just resonate with single mums – it’s largely that I didn’t get to know enough about her, and what I did I didn’t overly like.
Sorry if there are spoilers here but the fact that she refers to The.Frigging.Emptiness in every other sentence got right on my tats. As did the fact that she was so self-obsessed that she didn’t really pay attention to her aunt who was a) grieving and b) potentially seriously ill. After all that she’d done for her and her daughter Lyla.
And don’t get me started with the portrayal of the alleged men in her life. Simon who goes on to get it together with a flaccid hippie and who has zero appeal and Theo who is as wooden and likeable as a mannequin but who she professes to love. But he ignores you, doesn’t respond to your texts, leaves without saying goodbye and when you have the teeniest amount of balls and tell him to get stuffed before going to New York, you think it’s ok (after being homesick for 48 hours) to text him as friends because that’s what you do. No you don’t I wanted to shout at her! And he wasn’t your boyfriend, it wasn’t a relationship so why did The beeping Emptiness re-appear after that offensive rant at the top of whichever iconic London tower it was. Because who would sit through that..he was an absolute knob?!
There was just a lack of believability and detail for me which is a shame as it looked so good on paper and should have ticked all of my holiday reading boxes. Chick lit – yep, bring it on, just right for my cheeky trip to Byron where I knew that I might be able to squeeze in some down time. Written by somebody I rate and generally find amusing – check. I really like and respect Louise Pentland; she’s funny and a cracking vlogger, a great mum to Darcy and somebody who I’m sure that I would be mates with in real life, particularly as she’s from the Midlands – and not a million miles from where I’m from in Birmingham – so I’m convinced that Louise, Emma (from Brummymummyof2) and I would have been great mates had I not moved to the other side of the world. Bless my tiny and disillusioned mind..! And she’s a savvy business woman who has built up a brand and let’s be honest a business empire all on her own. You’ve got to respect her for that.
So knowing all of that – and loving her for it – I really wanted to love this book and was sure that I would. The main character Robin is even a bloody make-up artist which totally flips my switch (as a beauty addict) but that part of her life didn’t really come to life, and the huge coup where she brought down the sleazoid director (of a film shoot) was done and dusted in a mere handful of lines yet was a defining decision for Natalie (her boss) to hand over the reins of the business to her. And let’s face it, abuse isn’t a subject to be skimmed over, which was as concerning as the superficial way that the theme of infertility was treated also.
So wow reading this review back, this is more of a rant than I thought it would be as I’ve definitely read worse. Because fair play to her I say, it’s her first book, and it takes a lot to put yourself out there, particularly as the subject matter is so personal, and whilst not autobiographical, you can’t help but wonder how much of Robin is Louise. I just think that I expected so much more and was a wee bit disappointed, as it is what I am sure will be the first of many from Louise and I’d assumed it would be a lovely, well written romp to accompany my family holiday. But alas, it was not to be. But maybe I’m being harsh, it did pick up a bit of pace towards the end – and I didn’t want to smash Robin around the chops with a kipper whereas I would have happily strangled her in the middle – so maybe things will improve.
Volume number 2 is being written as we speak so will I part with my hard-earned cash to buy it – probably – if only because I love Louise and am an eternal optimist – knowing deep down that she will find her writing groove and that Robin will evolve into a more well-rounded person who I’ll learn to like a little bit more.