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Review | Underbelly

Updated: Aug 8, 2021

by Anna Whitehouse

Published : 5th August 2021

Publisher : Orion

Format : Kindle, Audio, Hardback, Paperback

Genre : Womens Fiction

{ ๐š๐: ๐ฉ๐ซ ๐ฉ๐ซ๐จ๐๐ฎ๐œ๐ญ / ๐ ๐ข๐Ÿ๐ญ๐ž๐ ๐š๐ซ๐œ }

* All words highlighted in Grey are affiliate links to either purchase from a range of sellers or links to the authors sites. Where ever possible I will try and provide different versions of the book on all purchase sites.



[n.] singular

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.

Thank you @Orion for this fantastic read.

My Review

Underbelly is narrated by and follows the lives of 2 mums who are both live vastly different live's. The two women are brought together via the playground thanks to their children who spark up a friendship.

Both women blog online. Lois is a popular influencer with over 30,000 followers. She is always well groomed and presents a perfectly polished life to her audience, but the reality of her life is actually totally the opposite. Lois is incredibly lonely and unhappy. Desperate for another baby, but every time she has the joy of seeing the two lines inevitably around five weeks later she miscarriages, Lois has suffered many and every time takes that little more from her soul, in the opening pages we read her heartbreak at miscarrying in her daughters nursery toilet, she doesnt call her husband as she doesnt want the inevitable sorries and awkward silence. So she calls her doctor, puts on a smile for her followers and carries on. The descriptions of these extremely sad moments are heartbreaking, she has no one she can truly confide in.

Dylan is also a struggling mum but whose life couldn't be anymore different to Lois's.

She is a single parent working from home on a commission based, zero hour contract, she is barely making ends meet, scrabbling around for change to buy food and often going without herself to feed her child. You get the sense from the first couple of chapters that she could improve her situation by applying for free childcare places, benefits etc but that is not an option because it leaves a paper trail and she doesn't want to be found by the Childs father.

At school, their children become best friends and this forces the two women to spend time with each other, which you would think would be a good thing as clearly both need a support system, a friend they can both confide in to ease some of the stresses of their lives, but this isn't the case and the coming of them both together sets off a turn of events that ends in devastating consequences.

Why I Loved It

*Warning this book covers domestic abuse, miscarriage and self harm, but I found it was written in such a relatable way that personally I didnโ€™t cringe at all.

This is one of those books that you instantly relate to. I loved every page.

Both women have starkly different lives and yet I related to them both instantly by just the situations they were in or the feelings they were going through, I loved this about this book. It instantly draws you in on a level that you can totally understand.

This book explores the world of influencers and equally the online world of trolling.

You read the reality of loneliness that motherhood can bring which in turn can cause you to lose some

of your identity as you can basically be living a lie that others want to see. At the same time completely relate to the shear panic and fear that comes with having to compulsively read every single nasty thing that is written about you, that same obsessive need that forces you to check your comments, like or follower count just as regularly.

The author also opens up the complexities of female friendships in such a brilliant way, these two women are written so perfectly, all you have to do is sit back and watch the misunderstandings and words taken the wrong way to watch the friendship slowly start to crumble, neither considering for a second that the other isnโ€™t answering because she has a lot going on because, like real life we keep that to ourselves. This also really highlights the darker side of the internet And how it encourages that FOMO monkey.

Really highlighting the dark side of social media as well and just how easily it is to be controlled by what you post and how much of your self you actually portray as true.

The author, Anna Whitehouse is also known as Mother Pukka on social media. Sheโ€™s a radio presenter, journalist and writer and has become an key speaker in advocating the flexible working cause.

I also have read this is being made into a tv series! Iโ€™m SO excited for this as I quite literally am obsessed with this book ๐Ÿ˜




Buy from

๐Ÿ›’ Waterstones

๐Ÿ›’ Amazon

๐Ÿ›’ Bookshop

Meet the author

Mother Pukka is a portal for news, events, reviews and honest comment for people who happen to be parents.

It was founded in 2015 by Anna Whitehouse, a journalist and editor who has written for The Telegraph, Independent, Stylist, Marie Claire and was once the Vice Editor at Time Out Amsterdam.

She is a columnist for Grazia, hosts her own Sunday night show on Heart Radio and through Flex Appeal, her campaign for more flexible working for all workers, has been quoted in parliament, featured on national TV and jumped around UK town centres with lycra-clad flash mobs.

With husband Matt Farquharson she has co-authored two bestselling non-fiction books: Parenting the Shit Out of Life and Where's My Happy Ending?.


Connect with Anna





I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on this review, if you have read this book why not drop me a line telling me your thoughts?


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