How Do You Like Me Now?
by Holly Bourne
Pub. 2018, by Hodder & Stoughton
This is the first time in several years I have read a book in the same year it was published. I almost always buy books second hand because I am a cheapskate. The last time I can remember is reading I Am Malala, which I got from the library. It was so popular I was number 76 on the waiting list.
How Do You Like Me Now? is the story of Tori, bestselling author of a self-help memoir who seemingly found her happily ever after. On the outside she is sucessful but on the inside her world is falling apart. Her friends are all getting married and having babies, a subject her boyfriend won’t even discuss. He publishers want another book, but she can’t seem to write anything. She feels pressure to put forward a perfect image of herself and her life on social media and at her public appearances. She tries to deny how miserable she really is.
I could relate to this book a lot. I assumed by the time I hit my 30’s I would have it all figured out. I would be in a stable career, with a house and hubby and kids. I would be more organised, well presented, healthier, fitter. But 30, then 31 and 32 rolled around and I was the same me as I ever was. A lot of what Tori goes through is similar. Worse, she feels like a fraud for telling her fans to live their best life, while her own life becomes more and more wretched.
I didn’t read this book. I inhaled it. It’s not a gripping page-turner, but Tori herself is a gripping person. She is funny, and emotional, and blunt, and pessimistic, and loving – wonderfully flawed. All her emotions are laid bare, it’s a raw story. Sometimes I wanted to reach through the pages and give her a hug. Other times I wanted to shake her to her senses. You can’t help but be swept up along with Tori on her journey right to the very end.