How Do You Like Me Now? By @holly_bourneYA #Hanreview

Release date: 14.7.2018

Preorder here

Goodreads

Description: ‘Turning thirty is like playing musical chairs. The music stops, and everyone just marries whoever they happen to be sitting on.’

Who the f*ck is Tori Bailey?

There’s no doubt that Tori is winning the game of life. A straight-talking, bestselling author, she’s inspired millions of women around the world with her self-help memoir. And she has the perfect relationship to boot.

But Tori Bailey has been living a lie.

Her long-term boyfriend won’t even talk about marriage, but everyone around her is getting engaged and having babies. And when her best friend Dee – her plus one, the only person who understands the madness – falls in love, suddenly Tori’s in terrifying danger of being left behind.

When the world tells you to be one thing and turning thirty brings with it a loud ticking clock, it takes courage to walk your own path.

It’s time for Tori to practice what she’s preached, but the question is: is she brave enough?

The debut adult novel by bestselling author Holly Bourne is a blisteringly funny, honest and moving exploration of love, friendship and navigating the emotional rollercoaster of your thirties.

First thoughts

I fucking love this book. It’s raw, unapologetically honest and brutally real when it comes to life as a 30 something woman in the age of social media.

While I knew I would love Holly’s book; her work is always incredible I was not expecting to finish it and feel so understood.

Characters

Tori will be a character that divides readers; and it makes me love her all the more. She hasn’t been created to tick boxes and please everyone.

She’s relatable and likeable; she’s the Bridget Jones for Gen X (I am 2 months away from 32; I refused to be labelled a millennial) I want to go for a drink with Tori, I want to go for many drinks with Tori.

She’s not perfect, she’s a bit of a fuck up and a little emotionally unsettled (read: sexually frustrated, angry and very fucking confused). However, I feel that is very much a side effect of her environment and I’m already pondering her life outside the novel’s ending.

Tom. I’m unsure as to what to make of him and I can’t trust my own judgement because I’m on the outside looking in, with only Tori’s thought process to guide me.

Honestly, I think he’s a prick and I’d be picking… Only that’s not true. Yes, I still think he’s a prick; I know I would limit my confrontations as Tori does.

I don’t want to tarnish all men with the same brush, but in my experience all my boyfriends have been akin to Tom. I almost felt that there was just enough left out of his character to allow for an element of projection.

Plot

You do see where the book will go; you sense the ending. And by sense, I mean you know, but you’ll slow down your reading hoping that will stop the pain. That’s no bad thing because, certainly for me, it’s not really about what outcome we get; it how Tori gets there. Holly has a wonderful ability to give us not what we want, but what we need.

It’s a wonderful episodic narrative that is tied together with a number of story arcs that help Tori question her relationship and personal fulfilment.

The most important part for me, is some of the difficult sections of the book. This, my friends, is not the Notebook. It’s also not an episode of Sex and the City. Tori’s descriptions of her relationship with Tom will hit a nerve, they challenge you to question what a healthy relationship with yourself and others looks like.

There’s one scene which brought back memories of my previous relationship (I lie, MANY scenes brought back that relationship. Fuck, at one point I felt like Holly had taken a nose dive into my pensieve); one in which I was reluctant to leave. It hit me like a wall of PTSD before realising; shit, it’s not just me.

Some would argue that a person would not stay in a relationship with so many unresolved issues as mentioned in the description. Well, as a women who has contemplated becoming a raccoon lady; If I’m going down that path, I will not become a walking clique (that and all my friends hate cats) I would have to disagree. The internal battle of Tori is a real as breathing.

Writing

Holly has always had a wonderful writing style; engaging, funny and relevant. However, this is something else.

My reading of the first few chapters was staggered only because I had to stop every page to fire off a quote to my best friend and co-blogger.

There’s an ease and comfort in reading How Do You Like Me Now? I loved both Sex and the City and Bridget Jones has I was approaching adulthood, but it was never talking to me and it felt like fiction; almost fantasy. Where as Holly has taken the world of taboo (let’s face it, female masterbation and women wanting sex are still things we could be chastised for bringing up depending on our social circle) and given women of Gen X a hero who is as fucked up as we are.

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