I need to be liked. It’s my job.
My personal brand is built on honesty.
Family, friendship, cheering other mothers on when things get tough.
Doing it together – telling it like it is – that’s what @the_Mamabare is all about.
I just want a quiet life.
Her adoring followers feel like they understand my wife.
My wife certainly understands them.
I know she is beautiful, smart, ambitious, charming.
But she’s also a liar.
I want revenge.
The filter’s about to drop.
I’ve been watching you and your family very closely.
You’ve ruined my life.
Now I’m going to ruin yours.
The most contemporary and relevant read perhaps – welcome to the world of social media, Instagram to be precise, where Emmy, a former fashion journalist has adapted to motherhood by creating her online persona @_Mamabare where she lays bare her journey of motherhood. Perfectly imperfect, she knows exactly how to share her difficulties and vulnerabilities to her followers, who lap up her empathic posts and believe she relates to them in a unique way. She is seen as a modern day parenting expert, no qualifications needed, just the lived in and witnessed mothering journey convinces her followers that her advice and opinion is valid and worth hearing.
There are haters of course, the ones who accuse her of selling her family out and communicating this in crude and vitriolic ways. But that is the world we live in, that is social media right? But when should the alarm bells ring, what about all that advice taught in school now about online activity. Should we be concerned?
This novel gets it spot on in my opinion the authors have created Emmy perfectly, difficult to like she feels so cynical, selling a product which is her and her family. This book cleverly taps into all of that lurid fascination and judgement we have of ‘influencers’ the people on line who appear to be willing to sell anything and nothing is sacred. An image, airbrushed to perfection as required, to sell the product and something that feels wholly false but paradoxically we want to believe in this perfection, or not necessariy perfection, but the online story being sold.
Told from the perspectives of Emmy and Dan, the couple don’t agree on all aspects of Emmy’s ‘job’ but they need the money and despite some misgivings, Dan generally goes along with it. A distancing emerges between them as Emmy, I think inevitably further adopts her online ‘identity’ and moves away from her real life and her integrity, hurting people she had known along the way.
Interspersed with these 2 characters voices is the sinister musings of an unknown follower. Seething with revenge and anger towards Emmy and as the story progresses the sad tale emerges.
So a reflection of modern life, lived and shared online, the blurring of what is real and fake, tied up with a sinister stalker type, determined to punish Emmy who sees no real problem in placing herself out there as a wordly and experienced mother, making a fortune, based on whatever her followers and sponsors want to hear.
A brutal reminder of the otherside of social media but a glorious read, Emmy doesnt deserve what happens but this book feeds into those perverse, voyeuristic behaviours we all have, following a life shamelessly lived on line, falling apart!
And the irony, of me writing a blog post and posting on Instagram, but Bookstagram is different right? Right????
About the Author
Ellery Lloyd is the pseudonym for London-based husband-and-wife writing team Collette Lyons and Paul Vlitos. Collette is a journalist and editor, the former features editor at Stylist, content direector of Elle and editorial director at Soho House. She has written for The Guardian, The Telegraph and the Sunday Times as well as two travel books. Paul is the author of two previous novels, Welcome to the Working Week and Every Day is Like Sunday. He is the program director for English Literature with Creative Writing at the University of Surrey. People Like Her is their first novel.