Pretending

(1 customer review)

£14.99

He said he was looking for a ‘partner in crime’ which everyone knows is shorthand for ‘a woman who isn’t real’.

April is kind, pretty, and relatively normal – yet she can’t seem to get past date five. Every time she thinks she’s found someone to trust, they reveal themselves to be awful, leaving her heartbroken. And angry.

If only April could be more like Gretel. Gretel is exactly what men want – she’s a Regular Everyday Manic Pixie Dream Girl Next Door With No Problems. The problem is, Gretel isn’t real.

And April is now claiming to be her. As soon as April starts ‘being’ Gretel, dating becomes much more fun – especially once she reels in the unsuspecting Joshua. Finally, April is the one in control, but can she control her own feelings? And as she and Joshua grow closer, how long will she be able to keep pretending?

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Description

WHY BE YOURSELF WHEN YOU CAN BE PERFECT?

‘MAGNIFICENT. Brutally honest and righteously angry but still HUGELY enjoyable and engaging. I bow down!’ Marian Keyes

‘Perceptive. Hilarious. Reassuring. Brilliant.’ Laura Jane Williams

The highly-anticipated new novel from Holly Bourne, bestselling author of HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW?

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He said he was looking for a ‘partner in crime’ which everyone knows is shorthand for ‘a woman who isn’t real’.

April is kind, pretty, and relatively normal – yet she can’t seem to get past date five. Every time she thinks she’s found someone to trust, they reveal themselves to be awful, leaving her heartbroken. And angry.

If only April could be more like Gretel. Gretel is exactly what men want – she’s a Regular Everyday Manic Pixie Dream Girl Next Door With No Problems. The problem is, Gretel isn’t real.

And April is now claiming to be her. As soon as April starts ‘being’ Gretel, dating becomes much more fun – especially once she reels in the unsuspecting Joshua. Finally, April is the one in control, but can she control her own feelings? And as she and Joshua grow closer, how long will she be able to keep pretending?

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PRAISE FOR HOLLY BOURNE:

‘Honest and unflinching’ Stylist

‘Funny, touching and painfully true’ Grazia

‘Relatable for any woman navigating emotional time bombs’ Red

‘Bourne incinerates the lies we’re all capable of telling ourselves’ Emerald Street

‘Funny, real and heartbreaking’ Lucy Vine

‘Funny, sad, honest, insightful, up-to-the-minute’ Roisin Meaney

‘Smart, witty and perceptive.

Razor-sharp on friendship, self-image and self-deception’ Lucy Diamond

Additional information

Weight 0.5 kg
ISBN

9781473668133

Author

Bourne, Holly

Publisher

Hodder & Stoughton

Binding

Hardback

1 review for Pretending

  1. Hannah Dorward

    Received as part of the monthly hard back bundle. Rounded up from 2.5 stars. I found this book enjoyable BUT problematic.

    Holly Bourne should be applauded for writing a book which tackles sensitive and triggering topics with absolute raw and honest emotion. I enjoyed reading the book but for me, it missed the mark in a few areas.

    Things I enjoyed about Pretending: I enjoyed the imagery Bourne uses. I enjoyed the claustrophobic London in a heat wave setting, reflecting the anger that burns inside April. I enjoyed the cultural references that made April relatable to most late twenties/ early thirties females (The OC and Harry Potter being my favourite. It has also made me decide to finally watch Dawson’s Creek). I enjoyed the easy tone. I enjoyed April’s growth from an apathetic, moany woman to a self-aware, strong woman. I enjoyed the boxing classes. I enjoyed the character of Joshua.

    Things I did not enjoy: the anaphora used in April’s diary-entry like sections.

    **SPOILERS**

    There were two things that I wanted to happen when I started reading the book. Firstly, I hoped that April would learn to not hate all men. Secondly, I hoped that she would become happy and that this happiness would not rely on a man. Whilst April admits towards the end that she doesn’t hate all men, in reality, she just doesn’t hate Joshua. I feel that the representation of 99.9% of all men in the novel being devoid of emotion is damaging and bordering on misandrist. I understand that April’s character is incredibly vulnerable and has suffered huge amounts because men. In this way, I understand that she hates men at the start and as she embarks on this recovery, she loses some of the anger and hatred she feels. However, this does not mean that Megan’s boyfriend has to be horrible, Neil has to be an inconsiderate tw*t, Chrissie’s husband has to have an inability to show affection and every other woman in the book has to generally think men are utterly shit. Apart from Matt, because he’s gay. And Joshua, of course. If women can absorb by osmosis how she ‘should behave’, then surely, likewise, men can absorb by osmosis how they are expected to behave. These depictions of men as heartless, thoughtless and insensitive that are abundant in the media, I feel, help to perpetuate the toxic masculinity that is so damaging for both females and males.

    At points Pretending is almost unbearably didactic. Some parts read like they’re supposed to be a beginners guide to feminism; in particular, the scene where April argues with Neil about the ‘rape spectrum’ seems to be forced down the reader’s throat, without any real attempt of discussion of anyone else in the party (even though if April follows her own argument, Simon changing to doggy style without her consent is equal to Ryan raping her. I entirely agree that nobody has the right to allocate how ‘damaging’ any kind of assault or abuse is- I just didn’t quite understand the message behind the spectrum). And yet, the novel ends with a patriarchal prince sweeping the damsel in distress off her feet. I really, really wish April could have been happy without a man. It seems to be her encounters with Joshua that make her realise how much she needs help. This, I feel, entirely undermines the feminist message.

    This book will be incredibly important for some women and I commend Bourne no end for that.

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