Rating: 4.5 / 5
Publisher: Orion Publishing Group
Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction
Release Date: 5th August 2021
Format reviewed: ARC Ebook (with thanks to Netgalley and Orion Publishing)
The soft underside or abdomen of a mammal.
An area vulnerable to attack.
A dark, hidden part of society.
Lo and Dylan are living parallel lives, worlds apart.
Lo is the ultimate middle-class mother, all perfectly polished Instagram posts and armchair activism.
Dylan is just about surviving on a zero-hours telemarketing job from her flat, trying to keep food on the table.
But when they meet at the school gates, they are catapulted into each other’s homes and lives – with devastating consequences . . .
Explosive, sharply humorous and unflinchingly honest, Underbelly slices through the filtered surface of modern women’s lives to expose the dark truth beneath.
I have to say I absolutely loved this book.
Underbelly by Anna Whitehouse is a really easy read, not always in its subject matter but definitely in its engaging narrative and authentic characters. It is raw and insightful, and I fell in love with the flawed protagonists. I understood them, rooted and worried for them and felt the blows as their friendship developed and misconceptions grew.
Anna Whitehouse perfectly captures womanhood, motherhood, sisterhood, contemporary living, social media culture and all the doubt, superficiality and obsession that comes with it.
I was totally involved and loved my evening reads. And there is some gorgeous writing at play, one-liners that had me highlighting and nodding – real, genuine observations that were at times really beautiful. I loved how Whitehouse expresses motherhood the highs and lows, the love and the sacrifice, the mother’s paradox. I could absolutely identify with it all.
As the story built to its climax I was feeling it all and I loved how it really delved into human nature in our social media age. It’s so easy to judge others but we rarely have the full picture. It was illuminating without being preachy and I was appalled to discover that trolling platforms like ‘Influenza’ actually exist.
I think this is one that will definitely sit with me for a little while – the characters, the honesty and the importance of how we need to straighten each other’s crown – and I highly recommend it.