MumLife - Louise Pentland
Genre: Non-Fiction | Motherhood | Memoir
Potential Trigger Warnings: This book does have a chapter which covers cancer, death and brief followed by another chapter which talks about child abuse. Please only read the rest of this review (and the book) if you are comfortable reading about these themes.
Synopsis: MumLife; noun: the inescapable swirling vortex of love, guilt, joy, annoyance, laughter and boredom that makes up the life of a mum.
Louise Pentland has been through a lot. From a traumatic birth with her first daughter, to single motherhood, to finding love again and having a second child, Louise's parenting journey has been full of surprises.
Discussing the realities most working mums face, plus the impact of maternal mental health, Louise is on a mission to make other mums feel less alone, and very much heard. She beautifully reveals her own imperfect but perfect route to motherhood, as well as the loss of her mum so early in her life, how it shaped her and the mother she became.
Reflective, uplifting and with her signature hilarious wit, MumLife will share Louise's ups and downs, reflecting on her route to motherhood and what she has learnt along the way. This is the honest truth, from someone who's been there and experienced it all.
My Thoughts: Anyone who has followed me on Instagram for a while will know that I really love Louise Pentland. I’ve followed her on Youtube for many years (I’m truly one of her ‘Oldie but Goldies’) and I’ve read two of the three books in the Wilde trilogy.
I’ll be honest, when she first announced this book, I wasn’t excited and I definitely didn’t jump to be one of the first to buy a copy. This isn’t a problem with the author, this is a problem with 1) My general disliking towards non-fiction. 2) The title of the book - I thought it would be aimed much more at mothers. I’m not a mum, and I’m not sure if I want to ever put myself through childbirth because it sounds grim. 3) I don’t ever really buy brand new copies of books, and tend to avoid hardbacks like the plague. I love buying books for 50p from the local hospice charity shop or getting 3 books for £5 from The Works and don’t like spending lots of money.
One thing I should add about this book whilst on the topic of money is that Louise has donated 100% of royalties from the book to the NSPCC charity, which is a charity close to her heart.
My best friend added me to Louise’s Facebook group ‘Wilde Readers’ shortly after the release date of the book and obviously a lot of people had bought a copy and were leaving a review. The reviews that were pouring in were positive and expressing how much they enjoyed the book. Louise also uploaded a Youtube video talking a little bit more about her book and how despite its name, it isn’t just aimed at parents. After seeing all of these reviews (from people who were and weren’t mothers themselves) and watching the video, I decided that maybe I should give the book a read.
Well I have to say that this was one of the best non-fiction books I’ve ever read. I think I only really enjoyed this because of how long I’ve followed on social media for. She’s one of those people, that despite having never met her, I feel like she’s one of my friends.
The book is essentially an autobiography of Louise’s life. She might be successful now, but it hasn’t always been easy for her and there are some pretty tough topics covered. She lost her own mum to cancer when she was 7 years old, just a few days before Christmas Day. Not long after losing her mum, her dad brought a new woman into her life. This woman ended up abusing Louise pretty badly throughout her childhood, both physically and emotionally. The abuse is something that Louise has very briefly touched on in her videos, but in the book it goes into quite a lot of detail. She also had a pretty traumatic experience when she gave birth to her first daughter, Darcy. After having Darcy, her marriage broke down and she was left to bring her up as a single mum (though she does share Darcy’s custody 50/50 with Darcy’s dad).
When reading other people’s reviews, I thought it would be the chapter on abuse that hit me the hardest, but it was actually the chapter on losing her mum that almost reduced me to tears (I’m pretty emotionally numb due to the horror that was my undergraduate degree). When I was young, my own mum had cancer. At the time I didn’t really understand much that was going on as like I said, I was only a few years old. Thankfully, my mum made a full recovery and is still here to tell her story. Though reading this chapter hit me hard in a way I didn’t know was possible. It started to bring up a series of ‘what ifs’ in my brain. ‘What if this happened to me?’ ‘What if I lost my mum as a child’ etc.
It isn’t all doom and gloom, there’s lots of funny and positive tales Louise has to tell, including her experience whilst dating, meeting a new man and having her second child (which was a much more positive experience than with her first). She also shares a few parenting tips throughout the books, though I skipped through these as anything self help/ advice annoys me immensely.
My favourite part of the book was the final chapter where she wrote letters to her daughters. Though she vlogs some of her life, she mentioned in the book that only around 30% of her life is shared online, and she also tries to restrict a lot of the content she shares of her children for their own safety. She wrote three letters in total, one to Darcy, one to Pearl, and one to both of them, and I loved how these letters provided a little bit more insight into what her daughters are really like and I really loved that.
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