I’m really excited to review Louise Pentland’s first novel Wilde Like Me. And there are two reasons for that. One is the fact that I really enjoyed reading it and the other you can catch up on over on my Instagram. 🙂
Wilde Like Me tells the story of Robin Wilde and her daughter Lyla Blue. Robin has been a single Mum for 4+ years. (For the exact length, ask Robin Wilde. She’ll be able to tell you the exact number of days, hours and minutes. :)). Ever since she divorced Simon, she’s been haunted by The Emptiness. It is only for the sake of her little girl Lyla, that Robin keeps on pushing and putting on a brave face. Mummy is ok, little one. Everything will be fine.
Throughout the book, the reader follows Robin Wilde, as she tries to master her life. It is all there: trying to impress the other Mums at school, screwing up Lyla’s school uniform, (not) cooking healthy dinners , finding a suitable life-partner, working and trying to advance her career, balancing motherhood and adulthood and finally finding herself.
All sounds familiar? It does. In two ways. The first one is the fact that Wilde Like Me is real life. There is no sugar coding. Louise Pentland has managed to write things as they are. I am no mother, but Robin Wilde’s struggles still resonated with me. Simply because they are real. It was very easy for me to identify with her even tough I don’t have children. I was happy for her, when she was happy and I wanted to give her a hug, when The Emptiness caught up with her again. This identification and the overall realness are certainly part of the reasons, why I really enjoyed reading Wilde Like Me.
But (there is always a but, isn’t there?), there is also something that I didn’t like about the reality of it all. And that’s the other reason why the plot sounded familiar to me. Maybe a bit too familiar. If you don’t follow Louise Pentland on Youtube, this might sound weird. But if you do, maybe you’ll know what I mean.
In one of her videos, Louise said that the book really wasn’t autobiographical and that she simply wrote about what she knew. All good authors do that, don’t they? And there is generally nothing wrong with it. Books certainly are more relatable if the authors actually know what they are writing about. But if you’re maybe a bit too familiar with the life of an author, then reading this non-biographical fiction novel really is a bit weird. A single mother to a little girl, downloading dating apps, meeting “the one” only to be dumped because he didn’t want a family… It all sounds like I’ve heard it before. And it made the book a bit predictable. Even now, I don’t see Robin Wilde and Lyla Blue. I see Louise Pentland and her daughter Darcy. And this sucks. If the book was indeed intended to be biographical, then I would have no problem with that. But since it (supposedly) isn’t, reading it felt strange.
Now Louise Pentland did say that she didn’t want Wilde Like Me to be just another Youtube book. And in that, I think she succeeded. I can easily imagine picking up a copy of the book in a shop without knowing who she is. And I imagine that if I had done so, I would have enjoyed the book even more. Because she is a damn good writer. Over the years, I have picked up many books recommended by Sophie Kinsella that were apparently a lot like her own. They weren’t. Louise Pentland is the first author, who’s writing style really reminded me of Sophie Kinsella’s. The characters are witty and the scenes and dialogues are easy to read. There is a lot of laughter in these pages, but also emptiness and sadness. I skipped almost no pages or paragraphs, which is a really good sign. 🙂 So all in all, the book was a really good read. Especially the second half. I had some problems in the first few chapters, as the story didn’t really go anywhere. But as soon as Robin got onto that plane to New York, the story picked up. In such a good way that I was really, really, REALLY disappointed when it all ended so abruptly. So yeah, the end could maybe have been done a bit better. But oh what!
The main thing is that I will certainly go and pick up Robin Wilde 2 as soon as it’s been written and published. And maybe I’ll be able to blend out the fact that Louise Pentland’s and Robin Wilde’s lives are maybe just a tad too similar.
Long story short. If you have never heard of Louise Pentland then DEFINITELY go and buy yourself a copy. You will not regret it. I promise! And if you’ve heard of Louise Pentland and either don’t mind the similarities or are better at blending them out than I was, then go and get a copy as well. Heck, get one even if you’re not good at dealing with these similarities. After all, I still enjoyed reading it, didn’t I? 🙂