Notes On... How do you like me now?


In Holly Bourne's How Do You Like Me Now? Tori Bailey is an Instagram sensation with a best-selling memoir about ignoring society’s expectations. But scratch beneath the surface and her life is not as perfect as it seems.

Those photos of her belly fat have been carefully crafted, the friendships she exalts keep her eyes rolling and her public image is becoming as manufactured as an X-Factor girl band. Top of her problems is her relationship with non-committal boyfriend Tom who treats her like a house-plant. Yep, Tori is burdened with the same old anxieties women have been dealing with for decades, with the added pressure of seeming effortlessly woke and self-accepting. One minute she's vowing not to upload another post until her stomach is flatter, the next she’s urging her followers to embrace their flaws.

But it’s Bourne’s portrayal of a dying relationship which sets this novel aside from others in the genre. The epic gulf between Tori and Tom’s actual relationship and the one she displays through social media is the real tragedy of the book and will be depressingly familiar for so many. Funny, honest and surprisingly emotional, How do you like me now? is Bridget Jones for millennials.

This is Bourne’s first foray into writing for adults — it's gripping, it's heartfelt — I’m keeping everything crossed it won’t be her last. This is a character-driven, page-turner which roots the reader firmly in Tori’s life. I screamed "dump him, you can do better" with the same fervour I would have had the scenario been happening to one of my best friends. Sort of scared the other people on the bus, tbh. (JM)