Book Review | Wilde Like Me – Louise Pentland

I have to be brutally honest – when it comes to YouTuber books I have been burned before, one way or another, and my expectations are now shockingly low. Pushing that to the back of my mind I picked up a copy of Louise Pentland aka “Sprinkle of Glitter“‘s new novel, Wilde Like Me.

Sometimes, mostly on a cosy Sunday morning, or perhaps if I’m lucky on a sunny bank holiday, I just want an easy to read, joyful, comforting book. I push my dystopian fiction to the back of the shelf, shove aside my Margaret Atwood obsession, ignore the political autobiographies that taunt me and pick up the literary equivalent to a cup of hot apple cider and a soft plaid blanket. Wilde Like Me promised all these things – from the cover (a pleasing cream with embossed red lettering), the promotional quotes (from reasssuringly qualified authors in the field such as Sophie Kinsella) and of course the blurb (loveably scatty single Mum finds herself, and love as she gives life another chance).

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Louise has made it abudantly clear in her videos that the bulk of the writing and planning has been down to her. She’s also stated that she benefitted from a strong editorial team to help give her writing structure and direction – a refreshingly honest approach from a YouTuber exploring one of the most traditional media forms out there. Something many YouTuber novels have in common is the rather literal approach to ‘write what you know’, and Pentland’s debut fiction is barely an exception. Her leading lady bears many personality resemblances to Louise herself, and her life echoes aspects of the author’s own. Pentland’s protagonist is Yummy-Mummy Robin Wilde, a single parent with an adorable if slightly feisty six year old, a penchant for bright red lipstick, and a life many would give their right arm for. She’s got a little house all of her own, a glamorous part time job as an assistant make up artist and a secure group of longstanding friends. Within the first chapter you know you’re in safe, cosy, literary hands. Nobody has ever been a home owning part time make up artist in a jumpy sci fi thriller, have they? (If they have, tweet me, I’d LOVE to read that @cpfcrox)

Pentland’s writing style is chatty but not wholly informal, though at times her inexperience shows. She builds to an enjoyable flow after the first few chapters, making reading Wilde Like Me a truly enjoyable experience. You get swept up in the emotions and adventures of Robin Wilde and on occasion I found myself really feeling I was standing in Robin’s shoes, living her life. By touching sensitively on subjects like depression and longstanding loneliness, Louise’s writing is mature and well thought out. She has a genuine knack for enaging her audience, that has been evident through her successful blog (don’t knock blogging as excellent writing experience!) and her hugely influential YouTube channel, and it continues through into her first foray into fiction. Robin Wilde is a sympathetic, warm and funny character, whose tale is told with all the charm you’d expect from someone whose screen persona is a Sprinkle of Glitter. If you’re after a really delightful read as the nights start closing in, or perhaps you’re dashing away for a last minute summer holiday, then pick up a copy of Wilde Like Me, and enjoy meeting Robin.

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