Book Talk: Don’t Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Heasley

Book Talk: Don’t Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn HeasleyDon't Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Heasley
Published by HarperTeen on April 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1
Imogene’s mom is a popular mommy blogger whose living has been made by writing about being a mom and sharing every step of Imogene’s childhood with the internet. Now that Imogene is older she doesn’t want all these personal details shared especially because all the kids at her school KNOW about it and she’s been embarrassed by all the intimate details she’s revealed from crushes to first periods to embarrassing pictures. When a school project forces Imogene to start a blog, she decides to use the blog to speak out and tell her mom just how much she doesn’t like being the scrutinized subject of her blog and the whole world knowing every detail of her life — a life she’s trying to figure out for herself.

a2*has things to think about re: all the interneting I do*

a4Ah…so this book. I almost put it down. Truthfully? I kept going because I really wanted to, for once, make my Goodreads goal and so I pressed on. Even though I really should have reminded myself of THIS. Anyways, I really liked the concept of this book but it didn’t quite pan out the way I had hoped.

What I Liked:

the plot: It was new and fresh and as a blogger felt kind of relevant to me — the daughter of a popular mommy blogger is fed up with her mom’s invasion of privacy and being the focus of her blog (seriously HER MOM WROTE ABOUT HER FIRST PERIOD). I thought it was interesting to explore this culture of the internet and blogs and how it affects those close to us. Plus when you read a book about blogging you are like nodding your head about so many things.

–  how it made me think about the internet: I think in some areas it was just kind of shallow in its exploration of the internet, being connected and privacy but it did provide this springboard for me to really think about it. It posed some interesting thoughts and questions!

What I Didn’t Enjoy:

Imogene’s POV: So I didn’t realize, because I didn’t read the summary SUPER well, that Imogene is in 9th grade. I typically don’t go for books with MCs that young personally unless I’ve heard AMAAAZING things or that the MC is a bit more mature. But honestly? She felt way younger than 9th grade. I have a nephew in 9th grade and I just think she came off to me more as 6th or 7th grader. I struggled with her voice the whole time. It was just toooo young for me as a personal preference. I think this one will be better for younger teens for sure and readers who aren’t bothered by this. So this was PROBABLY more a reader preference rather than something technically wrong with the book.

the writing: Something with the writing just annoyed me a lot. From the blog posts Mommylicious makes to Imogene’s voice itself, it just never jived with me. Mostly every voice just felt contrived and just kind of fakey to me. I can’t explain what I mean by that but nobody felt like a real person.

Mommylicious herself: I don’t have to like characters to like a book but Imogene’s mom is the worst. I mean, her whole Mommylicious things was so grating and over the top. I mean, I know it was probably intended to be exaggerated like that but I couldn’t take it seriously. Her blog post sounded like something some valley girl teenager would write but somehow she is like mommy blogger royalty. I could have handled that as annoyed I was. But even by the end of the book I never felt like her mom ACTUALLY understood how awful she was. Even after Imogene tries to tell her a million ways. Like WHAT TEENAGER WANTS THEIR MOM TO WRITE ALL THEIR MOST PERSONAL DETAILS ON A BLOG THEIR PEERS CAN READ?? But she just never truly GOT it in my mind.

The drama was just so over-the-top and threw me out of the story: I eye-rolled a lot. Sage getting mad at her was so over-the-top. Reactions to things were over the top. Mommylicious’s reaction to everything was over the top.  What could have been an actually interesting plot just kept pulling me out of the story from so much ridiculousness and drama that felt so contrived.

 

a6RATING-Not-a-fan

factors+ I liked the plot in theory and I REALLY did appreciate the thought-provoking questions it posed re: internet, privacy, disconnecting, etc.
Pretty much everything else.

Re-readability: No
Would I buy a copy for my collection? no

a5Tweens maybe?

a8I’m so wholeheartedly disappointed in this one. There was such great potential here but mostly I felt it was very silly though I am appreciative of all the thinking it made me do about all my Internet-ing. I think, for it to have been the book for ME, Mommylicious wouldn’t have to be so ridiculous and over the top (those blog posts just made the tone so, so silly) because there was a lot of room to explore the idea of a famous mommy blogger and the daughter she talks about all the time. It didn’t need to be a SERIOUS book but I needed to be able to take it seriously.

review-on-post-itDon't Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Healy

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
* Have you read any books that deal with being connected, the Internet, etc? I’m just really fascinated by it! (YA or adult)

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.

Comments

  1. Nice review. I haven’t heard of this book before to be honest. And after reading your thoughts on it, it is clear that it isn’t for me. I am easily annoyed with immature POVs even with older characters, so reading thoughts of 9th grader doesn’t really appeal to me.
    And only Internet/blogging connected story I can remember reading is Word Play by Amalie Silver (adult not YA) which paints bookish world in satiric, slightly caricatural way. It was entertaining, but you can’t be taken too seriously 😛

    • Yeah, I think maybe younger readers won’t be offput by her POV but MAN..I read a lot of YA and this was one of the hardest times I’ve had.

      And thanks for the rec!

  2. I read this a while back and I felt the same way you did, I was just frustrated by Imogene and UGH Mommylicious was the worst ever! She really didn’t get how it’s NOT ok for her to put all of Imogene’s life and OMG her period and embarassing moments and just EVERYTHING on the internet for the whole world (including the people she goes to school with) to read. I just cannot understand how she thought this was a good idea… I mean, when you’re a baby and you don’t know, ok sure, but as a teenager? Worst nightmare.
    I did really love Imogene’s grandma, she was amazing! But that’s about the only good thing about this book in my opinion.

    • Okay thank goodness I’m not the only one! I was feeling so baddddd like maybe I was just being a cranky old lady.

      YES Imogene’s grandma was the only character that felt real-ish to me!

  3. I agree with you. I loved the concept and see the potential but it fell flat. Thanks for sharing!

  4. The concept was interesting, but I’m surprised I made it through this book! I couldn’t stand how juvenile both the MC and her mother were. I hope someone else writes something with a similar concept.

    • Had I not been in the month of December and SO SO CLOSE to completing my Goodreads goal I probs would have not finished. And I so hope so toooo!!!!

  5. Man that’s such a great concept that it bums me out that it wasn’t executed well. My mom and I are always mentioning blogs where we feel bad cause parents over share about their kids and how the kids are gonna hate it when they are teenagers.

    • RIGHT? I just can’t imagine being the subject of someone’s blog like that. And it’s interesting just in general how kids are growing up on social media from the time they are born and parents sharing stuff. It’s just all so INTERESTING to me. What to share? What not to share? After I read this book I asked Will…so do you like care that I talk about you and post pictures of you on my blog and social media??? And he didn’t bc obviously I don’t post SUPER personal things but still.

  6. I’ve seen a lot of criticism for this one and I wonder if it’s a case where (as bloggers) we know too much about what’s being talked about and therefore come to the concept/premise with specific expectations. It is interesting though to think about Internet use–I go with a “everyone is reading it and I know that” approach but that’s for me. I don’t know how I’d deal with a family member sharing everything about me!

    • Hmm could be SOME of it but I think it was like the super exaggerated way. The mom’s posts were all like OMGEEEEE MY BABYLICIOUS LIKES A BOY. Like super valley girl and awful. It just felt silly! I couldn’t handle it.

      And yeahhh I asked Will if he cares if I talk about him/post pics which he is fine with bc obvi I don’t share super personal things about him (he actually loled because he got recognized at the Color Run I did with a bunch of YA people — some girl tweeted me (not in our group) after she saw I was there and was like I thought I saw Will). But I made sure my sis was okay with my posting pics of the babies. I wouldn’t want to share too much w/o their consent.

  7. sad! the plot sounds really interesting and very relateable in today’s world with blogging and especially the Internet and social media. I’m sad that it wasn’t all what you thought it would be. I think it’s a really interesting topic to touch upon.

  8. I felt pretty much the same way about this one. The voice was way too young for me, I definitely think she sounded younger than 9th grade. And I definitely know what you mean about the fakeness of the characters. Everything seemed a little forced, it didn’t really flow to me so I never really believed in the characters. And her mom never felt bad about what she was doing which was definitely disappointing.

    • I’m not glad you didn’t enjoy it but I’m glad someone else didn’t love it either because I was feeling cranky about it. and THANK YOU..the whole time I was reading I was like SHE DOESN’T EVEN SOUND LIKE 9th GRADE. Hell, Mommylicious didn’t even sound like a real grownup.

      That was my biggest thing..that as an adult…mommylicious was STILL clueless about what she did. It was like I’M SORRY YOU FEEL THAT WAY BUTTTTT THE BLOGGGGG EVERYONE LOVES YOUUU. BUT I WILL TRY TO STEP BACK BECAUSE YOU FEEL THAT WAY.

  9. This sounds good but I don’t think I’d enjoy it very much. Also, the name Mommylicious just really irks me for some reason, not exactly sure why? >.< I might give it a go if my library has it in but I won't go out of my way to read this. Fantastic review, Jamie! <3

    • I’d be curious to hear what you think if you do read it! I was SO in love with the IDEA of this book but didn’t deliver for me :/

  10. The subject of this book is something I’ve thought about several times over the past few years. More as it relates to Facebook. I see all of my mom friends posting every single milestone of their kid on the internet, and I can’t help but wonder what those kids will feel like when they’re older and realize that their entire life has been documented on the internet for all to see. And that they can’t control who accesses those pictures because once they’re on Facebook, moms don’t own them anymore. Anywho, to see that someone wrote a book about it intrigues me! Maybe the author made Imogene so young since that’s about the oldest age a kid could be, realistically speaking, where a mom could have documented they’re entire life on the internet. A ninth grader would be 13ish? Blogs started becoming popular, or at least existed, in the mid 2000s, right? I think I’ll pass on the book based on your review (Mommylicious? Gag me.), but I’m glad someone tried to tackle this topic as I think it will become more prevalent as this next generation gets older and becomes tech savvy. Great post!

  11. It’s unfortunate that Don’t Call Me Baby didn’t work for you! It’s actually one of the contemporaries from 2014 that I found really interesting. Like you, it definitely made me think about the internet and how much it is a part of my daily life and the consequences of that, which is to the book’s credit. While I wouldn’t actually reread it, I do think it was worth reading just to start thinking about all these things.

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