BOOK CLUB: How To Be Perfect

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Author: Holly Waingwright
ISBN: 978-1-76063-348-6
RRP: $29.99
Publication Date: 29 August 2018
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

Holly Wainwright is back with more of the bloggers we learnt to love/hate/laugh at in The Mummy Bloggers.


It sounds like life is a little different for the bloggers now. Elle Campbell has completely reimagined herself as a lifestyle guru in an exclusive retreat that costs women thousands to try out her extreme lifestyle.

Abi Black is planning for the wedding of her dreams to her true love but everything around her is chaos with a teenage daughter trying to find her own online fame and her ex-husband in the shed.

Frances Graham is a new character to the mix, a new mother with an anxiety causing mums group, a colicky newborn and a husband who could be more help. A mum ripe for what the fitmums on Insta and Elle’s retreat are selling.

Wainwright brings her witty social commentary and pulls no punches as she takes us on another rollercoaster ride of bloggers, self-improvement and bad influencers.

I look forward to hearing what our members have to say almost as much as I look forward to jumping back into the world of Elle Campbell and Abi Black myself.

Holly Wainwright can be followed on Facebook.

How To Be Perfect is published by Allen & Unwin and is available now through Angus & Robertson, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Allen & Unwin 20 of our Beauty and Lace Club members will be reading How To Be Perfect so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

18 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: How To Be Perfect

  1. Like her last book, The Mummy Bloggers, Holly Wainright’s new book How to be perfect is another delightful, fun, easy read. I finished this book In one sitting one evening!

    I enjoyed following Elle and Abi again, and the introduction of the new character Frances made the book more interesting.

    How to be perfect was the perfect sequel and I recommend anyone to read it who Wants a funny, quick and witty read, regardless of if you have read the first book or not.

    As always, thanks to Beauty and lace for another great read 🙂

  2. I actually really struggled to like this book. Usually I devour anything but I found the whole story just frustrated me. I’m not one for following blogs or any such thing and I think that it all seems so superficial and unrealistic that I don’t know how some people are willing to believe it is all true. I know it was a fictional story and it did explore to a degree how some people are caught in the web of bloggers as such but it really didn’t appeal to me.

  3. “How to Be Perfect” is a fun read – it’s light and funny, but with a serious message underlying it all. It’s not stunningly original, but it’s well written, amusing and an enjoyable read. The characters are vivid and largely believable.

    This is the sequel to “The Mummy Bloggers”. You’ll understand the relationships in this book more easily if you’ve read the first, and there are some extra layers to them when you read both books. However, both the relationships and the background are easy to pick up, and the plot is easy to follow too. I don’t think it’s much of a problem if you haven’t read the first.

    This is primarily the story of three women – two bloggers and one desperate follower. These women come with partners, ex-husbands, children, step children, sisters, friends – the full panoply of chaos and confusion and delight. It’s everyone’s life, taken up a notch or two. Okay, three notches in some cases.

    This is a lot of fun to read, but it also looks seriously at compromise within relationships, parenting, self improvement, and whether we should really believe everything we see online. (Spoiler alert: NO.) It also raises – although doesn’t really explore in any depth – issues around teenagers doing some of their normal exploring on-line, in full view of the world, instead of in private.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and would recommend it to readers who don’t want to work too hard, but do want a little substance to what they’re reading.

  4. I actually struggled to read this book. It might be because I haven’t read the first book. I found the topic quite superficial and the characters unbelievable. I really wanted to like it, perhaps suited to a younger age group than myself!

    Thank you Beauty and Lace Club!

  5. I was excited to read this book when it arrived and yet, once I started reading, I wasn’t enjoying it like I thought I would. I even started writing the review in my head, trying to word the criticisms nicely. However, the book slowly but inexorably drew me in. I became entangled with the characters lives and became intrigued with how it would all tie together.

    Sometimes the characters annoyed me – the hippies were a bit too cliched and airy fairy, and all the yelling that goes on throughout the book – on a whole though, the characters developed throughout the story and became multi-layered and more relatable.

    The book can be read as a stand alone book although I’d recommend reading the first book ‘The Mummy Bloggers’ first. I hadn’t read that book before reading ‘How to be Perfect’, and although the author does a good job bringing you up to speed, I just felt like there were pieces missing.

    I did enjoy the story and the way the author addresses some serious, contemporary issues. Holly Wainwright performed a delicate balancing act of keeping the story light hearted and entertaining while delving into deeper issues.

    Thanks Allen & Unwin and Beauty & Lace for another great read.

  6. It took me a little while to get into this book. It was such a contrast in style to the book I had just finished that I thought I was not going to enjoy it, and I have not read “The Mummy Bloggers” so I didn’t know the characters. But I very quickly got drawn in, and ended up really enjoying it, and finding it hard to put down. The characters are pretty crazy, yet still believable. I enjoyed how the story jumped between the viewpoints of the different characters. The story itself was a lot of fun, and yet also quite an interesting look at how easily the internet can influence people’s lives, and how people’s lives can appear to be perfect when they are not. It touched on many issues, and one that resonated with me particularly, having recently attended a cybersafety talk at our school, was the ease with which teenagers can be influenced via the internet.

    Thank you to Allen & Unwin, and to Beauty and Lace for a great read.

  7. The sequel to “The Mommy Bloggers” is another dark and delightful slice of contemporary fiction.

    Elle is back, once again showing women “How To Be Perfect” but like previously, all is not as it seems. Even though she has managed to claw her way back to the top, a lot of what she presents online is carefully curated smoke and mirrors designed to appear perfect. Her detractors are calling b.s. and what will her nemesis, Abi, The Green Diva have to say?

    Wainwright once again constructs some fabulous characters: villains scheme while real people struggle.

    Frances is a new addition, a newtime Mum and devotee of Elle’s. I’m sure a lot of women would relate to Frances, even in her determined naivety.

    This book is a satisfying character study about some different women and the lengths people will go to in order to get ahead. It’s sobering stuff.

  8. I haven’t read the first book in this series, “The Mummy Bloggers” (it’s on by wish list to read) but was excited to be gifted this book by Beauty & Lace and Allen & Unwin.

    Overall, I found the book quite enjoyable. It was easy to read and quite humerous & although it can be read as a standalone book,

    I think it would have been better to read “The Mummy Bloggers” first because although the author did a good job at filling in the blanks, there were a few small details that were left out, such as what GD actually stood for.

    I was also a little thrown by the extremely liberal use of the f bomb through out the dialogue of Abi etc. It actually annoyed me quite a bit – it seemed excessive, over the top & unnecessary, the occassional drop of that bomb would have made the point better.

    But otherwise, it was a great read that I actually didn’t want to put down!

  9. An interesting insight into social media culture and the perceptions of perfection that are shown online. But I really struggled with this one. I love a chick lit novel and normally devour them. I just found the characters superficial and shallow. I had absolutely no empathy or connection to them at all.

    Thank you to Allen and Unwin and Beauty and Lace for this copy.

  10. This is the 2nd Holly Wainwright novel I have read and it continues on from the first but is an enjoyable light hearted read all in itself.

  11. I loved this book, so thank you to B&L and Allen & Unwin. Although I waited quite a while to get a copy, it was worth it in the end.
    So, the story centres around three different women, from very different walks of life. Frances, a new mum really trying to keep her life together, but really looking for a quick fix from social media. Then there is Abi, who is in a lesbian relationship, living on a farm with her ex-husband and soon to be new wife, and all of their children. And last but certainly not least is Elle, who is such an excellent deciever and has thousands following her on instagram.
    I will not give the main plot away, but this book gives a great insight into the online world, and what is real, and what can come across as real, and what is actually fake.
    I found this wonderfully written and easy to follow.

  12. As a blogger I thought it would be fun to read a book, with blogging as its theme. I was disappointed. I hadn’t read The Mummy Bloggers and this put me at a distinct disadvantage, as there wasn’t enough back story to fill in the gaps. To many characters, with too many twists and the over use of the ‘F’ word, made it a real struggle to read.
    I hate to give a bad review but I really can’t find anything good to say. Sorry Holly.

  13. Following on from The Mummy Bloggers, How to be Perfect is another laugh out loud and light read by Holly Wainwright.

    This is a story of 3 women all with different stories to tell but whose lives are interconnected in some way. Even having read The Mummy Bloggers (about this time last year) – I found myself really having to think about who was who and how they were connected. I think some people may struggle to pick this up if they didn’t read the first book.

    While it was fictional, many of the themes are very relevant and disturbingly accurate.
    I enjoyed the different stories of each of the women but didn’t take a particular liking to any of them. I possibly resonated with Frances (the new Mum) the most. I think the two books together make light easy holiday reading – and I love their simple but effective covers.

    I really like Holly Wainwright and listen to her Mamma Mia Outloud podcast a lot and can picture her saying many of the things in the book!

    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Allen and Unwin for the opportunity to read and review this book!

  14. I really enjoyed reading this book, I finished it in one day. I loved how it started off in so many peoples perspectives and then it all came together. It made me even more intrigued about where the story was going.

    I think one of the messages the book conveys is amazing, showing you can’t be perfect and everything that is on social media doesn’t always reflect real life

  15. I knew Holly Wainwright had previously written The Mummy Bloggers, but I didn’t realise until I got to the end of How to be perfect that it was actually a follow on book! I can confidently say that you do not need to have read Holly’s first book to understand or enjoy this one. I will admit that it may take you a little longer to work out the complex relationships between the characters and their backstories than I assume it would if you read the first book, but this develops over the course of the novel just like in any other book.

    I found this novel to be a light hearted read centring on three completely different women and their lives. The characters were well developed and very believable, but I couldn’t relate to any of them or bring myself to find them likable. While it was evident from early on how two of the women’s lives were intertwined, I was always wondering how the third would link into those or if she was a separate but related story, and I will leave the answer to that for you to find out.

    I rather enjoyed reading this book which was something a little different to what I usually read, and found it was a good book to keep me occupied over the holidays. It touches on some important issues in today’s society with some good messages behind it, in particular really illustrating the power of the internet and the lengths some people will go to.

  16. I didn’t realize this was a follow up book until I was a third of the way in and was struggling to understand a lot of it. Unfortunately I felt that if you hadn’t read the first book “The Mummy Bloggers” it was quite difficult to really get into this book

    Sorry for my negativity but I honestly did not enjoy this book

  17. Although a follow up from Mummy Bloggers… I didn’t feel that these books need to be read in order.
    This book follows its own path and is enjoyable entirely as a stand alone.

    The world of “Mummy Bloggers” is something I know very little about – however, I do follow a few of them. I love looking at photos of their daily lives and getting to know them – but after reading this book it really made me think twice about other peoples’ “reality”. So much media manipulation these days. You can never really know someone in the online space.

    I enjoyed the story and even the ending satisfied me. I read this in about 3 sittings and I genuinely enjoyed Holly’s style of writing and content. Looking forward to more books from Holly.

  18. How to be Perfect is Holly Wainwright’s sequel to The Mummy Bloggers. I haven’t read the Mummy Bloggers, however had no issue in picking up the story from where it had left off.
    The two main characters Elle and Abi are both ‘mummy bloggers’ who share their lives in great detail on the internet. The difference is, one is real and the other is not.
    This was an easy novel to read, funny, emotional and hit on some big women issues, however did not delve too deeply, which kept it very lights.
    This was a nice book to pick up and read. I didn’t need to invest a lot of energy to get a lot of enjoyment out of it.

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