Book Club: The Mummy Bloggers

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Author: Holly Wainwright
ISBN: 978-1-76029-750-3
RRP: $29.99
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

Holly Wainwright is a journalist and editor with years of experience. She now works in digital media, most recently as Head of Entertainment at Mamamia; Australia’s biggest women’s independent website. A perfect position from which to observe the online presence of both bloggers and their community of commenters.

The Mummy Bloggers is the debut novel of Wainwright, it is a fictional look at life through the filters of social media but I am sure there is a lot of real life inspiration that has gone into the fleshing of the characters.

The blogging community is home to all sorts and there really is a site for every one and every thing, especially when it comes to parenting. In recent years the blogging culture has skyrocketed and what used to be an outlet for sharing a way of life with like-minded people has exploded into the mainstream and can be quite a lucrative business. Blogging can get you into the limelight and effective blogging personalities carry great influence. But you are definitely left questioning what life is like behind the lens, on the other side of the screen.

Parenting blogs are a minefield; they attract amazing support from the like-minded but they also seem to be a target for people with different opinions to direct all of their frustrations at. It’s something that I don’t really understand or get involved in but I see it happen all the time, on blogs as well as other social media platforms.

Wainwright has taken an insightful look at the blogging world and shared a little about the other side of the keyboard.

I’m sure there are blogging awards, though I’m not aware of them, and that is a main focus of The Mummy Bloggers. In the lead up to the prestigious Blog-ahh Awards we meet three very different bloggers and follow them through the months from nomination to the award ceremony.

There are three nominees for the Blog-ahh’s in the Parenting category and they couldn’t be more different. The Stylish Mumma aka Elle, The Green Diva aka Abi and The Working Mum aka Leisel make up the nominees; each with a strong community of followers, and their share of detractors.

Now, I see things on social media all the time that outrage me. I see posts that I don’t agree with and opinions that seem ridiculous/dangerous/moronic/ill-informed all of the time. Sometimes I can’t help but click the comments to watch the trainwreck unfold. But do you know what I don’t do… I don’t go on the attack, I don’t start slinging insults and trying to enforce my opinion while denigrating the poster or the other commenters. I come from a mindset where it’s about building each other up and not tearing each other down, and if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all. The problem with that mindset is that it doesn’t really translate into viral engagement and spiking Likes.

Parenting blogs are like the social media accounts of regular people across the world in that they are a selective window into the life of the author. Sometimes it’s a window into just the moments and the elements they want to share, and sometimes it’s through such a heavy load of filters that it’s almost unrecognisable as the real thing. It is also a window that sheds light on the entire family, whether you intend it to or not.

Blogs are begun for many reasons but I think it’s pretty safe to say that most of them start as a means to connect with like-minded people, showcase the moments in your life that you may not be able to share with your immediate circle or to reach out to someone who may understand where you’re at, or to let others know that they aren’t alone. Those emotions can be overshadowed by ego as the numbers start adding up and before you know it you’ve lost sight of why you started in the competitive push for engagement.

I’m not really a follower of parenting blogs, or any blogs, but I often see things that people in my social accounts have shared. I have also somehow ended up following a lot of Facebook pages that I am not even really sure how I hit the like button. The Mummy Bloggers seemed quite familiar, I wouldn’t go as far as to say they were based on real bloggers but maybe inspired by; I couldn’t help but think of actual people as I read the book.

The Mummy Bloggers follows the lives, and blogs, of Elle, Abi and Leisel so you would expect it to be a tri-perspective narrative; but it isn’t. We also have chapters written from the perspective of other relevant characters of the story. This gives us an insight into how the events are affecting the significant others of our bloggers.

The bloggers, what can I say… right from the beginning two of the bloggers grated on my nerves. The Mummy Bloggers gave an opportunity to simultaneously see the content being posted, and the life of the blogger behind the blog. The complete contrast between the image being portrayed and the actual woman behind the mask.  Abi was trying to live the Green Diva life, for the most part she was embracing what she was posting but there were times that she stretched the truth for better ratings.

The Stylish Mumma on the other hand just didn’t do it for me at all. I disliked her from the start and not a single thing she did through the entire story gave any hope of her being redeemable. There was not a scrap of authenticity in her and unfortunately that didn’t mean I couldn’t believe in the possibility of her being a real person. I couldn’t relate to her at all but I also couldn’t dismiss the fact that she could exist. She was devious, manipulative and only in it for what she could gain, regardless of the cost.

The Working Mum, now she was a character I could believe in; a character I could relate to and a character that at times inspired me. No, she wasn’t perfect; and she didn’t pretend to be. She was probably a little too self-deprecatory at times. Leisel was authentic, she juggled work with the kids and suffered the #mumguilt on a daily basis. She has a great partner that she loves, and remembers to thank, but still at times covets the extra time he has at home with the kids.

The lengths that these women went to, the information they chose to share, in pursuit of numbers to get them over the line was sometimes scary. It was refreshing, though, that in the end there was some redemption, there was an awakening to the insidious energy creeping into their lives that was no longer a positive force.

I think the thing that I really loved and one of the elements that Wainwright nailed, and I’m glad she did, is in addressing trolling. There is a trolling incident that gets out of hand in the book and it is used as a means to address trolling and look a little further into it; to try and find the person behind the trolling, what might cause someone to behave that way. It reminds us to be kind and remember that you never know what someone may be facing.

Overall I found The Mummy Bloggers to be an entertaining read; there was definitely some humour and a look at life behind the blog but it was also quite an interesting commentary on the vicarious way we sometimes live our lives online. It’s a fine line we walk sometimes and a timely reminder that just because you read it on the internet doesn’t make it true…

Holly Wainwright has proved to be an entertaining storyteller with a fresh debut that means I will certainly be watching out for what she tackles next. I think there is scope for a sequel here and I would definitely pick it up.

The Mummy Bloggers is book #37 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2017.

Holly Wainwright can be followed on Facebook.

The Mummy Bloggers is published by Allen & Unwin and is available now through Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Allen & Unwin 10 of our Beauty and Lace Club members will be reading The Mummy Bloggers so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.


9 thoughts on “Book Club: The Mummy Bloggers

  1. “The Mummy Bloggers” is journalist, Holly Wainwright’s debut novel and it is a wonderful read that feels very fresh and current in the issues that it addresses. The story predominantly focuses on three women who are finalists in a blogging award that comes with a hefty cash prize. In contention are the uber-stylish and glossy Elle Campbell who tries too hard to achieve perfection. Abi Black is the Green Diva or a woman who has rebuilt herself after a divorce and become a devotee of all things alternative. And last but certainly not least, is the most realistic mummy blogger, Leisel Adams, a working mother who works hard in the office by day before she steals precious moments with her three youngsters before bedtime.

    Wainwright’s book reminds me a little of Ben Elton’s work (particularly his works “Dead Famous” and “Chart Throb”) in that it is a comedy that satires modern phenomena. It also appears that Wainwright draws inspiration from Belle Gibson’s publicity storm as well as works like Jon Ronson’s “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed” to create a story that alternates in perspective as well as the live-tweets and posts the characters make about it.

    Wainwright does a fantastic job of capturing the different voices of the characters and crafting such a clever and witty book. “The Mummy Bloggers” is ultimately an entertaining read about the extremes that people will go to in their online lives to get clicks, likes and cash. It’s sobering stuff.

  2. Wow! What a book. What emotion. I am thinking of starting a blog, no seriously! 4/5 stars, highly recommended for all kinds of reasons, not just the selfie tips, but they are a hoot!

    Mummy Bloggers by Holly Wainwright newly published by Allen & Unwin is a genuine surprise packet. The pink, ice-cream cover, and title Mummy Bloggers makes you think all cupcakes and parenting, and put me off a little, but do think again-this is a spiky book. Within a few minutes I was hating the main character Elle with a surprising strength of emotion, and although I was a bit in two minds at this stage I was quickly caught into the story, I wanted to know what would happen. Character driven but with a twisting plot which surprised me enough to call out to my husband several times and say “you will never believe what has happened now!?!”, I quickly read through and enjoyed every moment of hating Elle, and wondering what would happen next. If this is not your kind of read usually, maybe push your boundary, and give it a go, as you may find, as I did, it is just the refreshing change and shake up you need for your next book.

  3. First up thanks as always to Beauty and lace club, and Allen & Unwin for the chance to read this book.

    The Mummy Bloggers by Holly Wainwright, where to start?

    Three main characters (bloggers), Elle, Abi and Leisel, all doing the same thing trying to win an award and writing about their everyday lives, but such different characters!

    Leisel was my favourite character, and I think this was for two reasons. First was because she was the most real character, she copped the most flack but she was truly being herself. Also, because I can relate to her. I know what it’s like to be a full time working mother, I know that guilt and stress all too well! She was real, and like many bloggers I follow on Facebook and appreciate for saying how it really is, warts and all!

    Abi- I did quite like Abi, I just disagreed with some of the decisions she made. Going against her own views to keep that awful woman on her side, well it was obvious it would be a disaster and it was!

    Elle- what a piece of work! Nothing positive I can say here about her.. her poor kids and husband 🙁 I know it is a fictional book but I’m sure there are people that are like her in real life, which is so sad.

    I felt that Holly did a great job on this novel, her debut. She did a great job for all the characters and the ending of the book finished well. Not a book I would have purchased for myself, but it was an entertaining, light read. Perfect for those that don’t need a book that makes them think.

  4. Mummy Bloggers is a relevant and timely work that is both scary and fascinating to me!

    I personally follow only a few real bloggers for information I am interested in and this book gave me a new insight into the ‘real’ world of blogging, especially trolling and getting more and more followers to increase their chance of winning at the awards. Certainly entertaining to read about their antics and what happens ‘behind the scenes’.

    This is not a novel I would usually pick up off the shelves but I am glad I read it as, although I found it difficult to relate to most of the characters, especially Elle ( I have known a few Elle’s in my time!), I felt I was bought up to date with the new world of writing and social media, which I am reluctantly a part of! Certainly outside of my usual reading topics but as it was reasonably well written and I got hooked in to simultaneously hating and liking the characters, before I knew it, I was done!
    Thanks for choosing me to read this and look forward to more of Holly’s books in the future.

  5. What a surprising book this is and very much a testimont to never judging a book by its cover, or in fact by the comments on the jacket!

    Perhaps its my age, or the fact that I dont have anything to blog about but whilst I was interested to review this book I also had reservations as to what this was really about. Was it going to be an insight into the shallow minded bloggers that my children harp on about as the new fountains of all knowledge or something more.

    I am excited to say that not only was it something more but more than something more! This book takes you on an emotional roller-coaster of hating characters, giggling at antics, pondering life hacks and generally opening up a world few of us ever really understand but ‘hear’ lots about.

    The characters strengths lay with their relate-ability to either people you already know or traits of others which you can see (not necessarily for the better).

    Based on reading this book, I look forward to seeing what else Holly writes as she has a knack for drawing you in and keeping you reading, if only to find out what happens next!

  6. I follow so many “mummy bloggers” and I found this book both relevant and entertaining.
    The characters are oh so familiar and I found myself comparing these to bloggers I follow.. Great laughs and excellent observations.

    I really loved the escapism of the book and I feel that Holly has a great style and I really look forward to reading more from her in the future.

    Aside : I adored the cover.. there can never be enough pink books in the world. x

  7. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the offer to review the book The Mummy Bloggers by Holly Wainwright.

    The three main characters in the book are bloggers Elle Campbell, Abi Black and Leisel Adams..

    Elle seems to be a Mum with a ten year plan and a past that is secret. Abi is living a sugar free lifestyle, has moved to the country and is homeschooling her children. Leisel is a workaholic, working hard at the office and rushing home full of guilt everyday to spend time with her children.

    All of them are nominated for a prestigious blogging award with the winner taking home a great cash prize. Of course they would all love to win. As the awards get closer they do crazier stunts,lies are bigger and mistakes from their past become harder to hide.

    I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to everyone. I love the cover it is so eye catching.

  8. The Mummy Bloggers by Holly Wainwright

    Not a book I would usually choose to read however this was a fast moving absorbing modern novel. Which was at time quite amusing and true to life.
    However there is an underlying current of danger so present in real life of trolls, obsession and hatred that prays on the lonely, mentally stressed and mob mentality of our society.
    The author introduces us the three distinctly different women who are influential Bloggers on the subject which is so interesting because all mothers hope to be the perfect mother.
    We follow their families as they vie for the ultimate prize but how far from reality will these women stray to achieve their goal?
    As the story lines converge towards the finale the reader is anticipating the result with eagerness.
    Definitely worth a read.

  9. I became a first time mum last December so the past 12 months have been filled with more googling and reading of mummy blogs than I thought possible! Therefore I was excited about reading this book.

    I really enjoyed it and could instantly resonate with some of the challenges the mummy bloggers (especially Working Mum Leisel) were facing in life. I could also recognise the polished, perfect lifestyle of The Syylish Mumma and the more earthy, hippy lifestyle of the Green Diva from some of the mummies on my Instagram feed! The book is a light r as with many funny moments but also the book is an interesting comment on the influencer phenomenon and in serious moments has much to say on how this can impact negatively on readers of such blogs.

    It was well written, with engaging characters and easy to read. I would certainly recommend it as a great light read!

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