Don’t Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Heasley (review copy received from Edelweiss)
For as long as Imogene could remember she’s always been the focal point of her mother’s mommy blog – a blog dedicated to, not only offering parenting tips and tricks, but also dedicated to putting daughter Imogene in the spotlight. Every private moment has been recorded. Every embarrassing school photo of Imogene has been plastered all over the internet for the whole wide world to see.
At first, Imogene didn’t think it was so bad. In fact, she actually thought it was kind of fun being recognized and fawned over by perfect strangers. But as time passed and as Imogene grew she soon realized that it’s not fun, it’s intrusive.
So when Imogene is forced to create a blog of her own for a school assignment she decides that now is the perfect time to take a stand. Through her blog she’s going to give her blogging mommy a taste of her own medicine. What starts as a simple project snowballs into an attack on her mother and the blog that she runs. It’s Imogene’s turn to speak, and her mom may not like what she has to say.
But will Imogene’s plan on exposing the truth backfire? Or will it finally make her mother realize that Imogene is more than a subject to be discussed?
Don’t Call Me Baby, author Gwendolyn Heasley’s third book, is a realistic read that captures the trials and tribulations of what it’s like to kind of/sort of grow up in the spotlight.
Heasley’s latest novel centers around a plot that is refreshingly original. Unlike any other plot line read before, Don’t Call Me Baby is a book that captures the reader’s attention. Heasley’s writing is simple yet solid. The tone often felt light and conversational even though it was tackling tough subject matter. There were moments that felt as light and conversational as the tone, and it was those moments that I really gravitated towards as a reader.
But there were other moments that I simply did not enjoy — other moments that left a bitter taste in my mouth. While maintaining a conversational tone throughout, not all of the plot was as light and airy as I had originally thought. There were moments that I felt that the world “blog” was a bad word. And as a blogger myself, someone who takes pride in that fact it made me feel really uncomfortable.
Don’t Call Me Baby raises a lot of great points. And it presents even more learning lessons. But because of the fact that I felt, as a reader, that I was being preached to. I felt that the book preached about the importance of disconnecting from the online world. It preached about the importance of knowing what information to post and what information not to post on the world wide web.
Beyond the preachiness, my expectations of Don’t Call Me Baby were not met. I was looking for a fun summer read in the midst of a very cold winter. Going into this book I totally expected some sort of beach read, If you were to judge this book simply by this cover, than you too would expect what I did.
From start to finish I did enjoy main character Imogene as a whole. What I liked most about her as a character wasn’t just that she was honest, flawed, and relatable. It was the fact that I could see her progression from complaining teen to mature young woman. When the book first opens Imogene was afraid to stand up for herself. But by the end, readers will see that not only is she not afraid to stand up for herself, but she’s not afraid to speak out against all the injustices she’s suffered as the “star” of a mommy blog.