Author: Anna Whitehouse
Publication Date: 5th August 2021
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 . . .
I love books that examine the darker side of social media, so I was really excited to read Underbelly and it delivered massively! The story follows two mothers, Lo and Dylan, brought together after their children become fast friends on their first day of school. Lo is what some would call an ‘instamum’, who makes her living through ads on social media and Dylan is struggling to make ends meet whilst also hiding a dark secret. Their connection to one another soon has huge consequences on both their lives.
I absolutely loved this book. Underbelly is so cutting, smart and bitingly funny whilst also managing to be candid, genuine and achingly moving at times. It is brutal in its depiction of the extremities of social media and the way it can turn on someone at any moment and just annihilate them with no empathy or any sense of balance or restraint. Lo and Dylan are very different but I really felt some sort of connection and compassion for both of them. This is the kind of book that really hits home and makes you think about the fact that you never truly know what is going on in someone’s life or their head. It also searingly portrays what judgement and uncensored vitriol can do and the very real life harm it can cause. Underbelly is intelligent, compelling and also feels strikingly relevant to the way we live. I really couldn’t recommend it more highly – quite simply a phenomenal read.
I kindly received a copy of the book from the publisher. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.