Happy & You Know It by Laura Hankin surprised me! I expected it to be all fluff and just a light read, and while it read super easily, there were some witty underlying tones.
It starts out when Claire is called to use her musical talents for a rich mother and baby playgroup. Soon, she’a sucked into their perfectly instagrammable lives and drama.
This book highlights the strategically curated idea of motherhood on social media, where everything is whitewashed, quite literally, with a light and airy filter. You know the type: the bless this mess wooden plaque hung in an absurdly sophisticated laundry room, where families are always smiling, the husband is always happy, and the house is always clean and modern. It pokes fun at this plastic notion of the ideal life, played out in perfect pictures meant to hide the flaws, where the “flaws” that are shown are placed with a perfectly calculated degree of honesty to garner likes and accolades.
At the same time, the author recognizes that mothers are under pressure to maintain themselves and the lives of their whole family. That these women, usually innocently, start posting pictures to have a log of their family’s moments together, and slowly but surely, companies latch on to these women to push their agenda. May that be vitamins, workout classes, tummy tea, weight loss programs, etc. Women have been raised to do it all while secretly critiquing themselves, grasping at any “secret weapon” that makes their lives more palatable in those first moments of motherhood, moments that are incredibly empowering while also being incredibly lonely and full of doubt. There’s people out there waiting to take advantage of this, to push products (that can sometimes be harmful) on a woman that is trying to make sense of where she fits in the world as a mother, to women that are looking for that validation of their worth, and see that company’s attention as just that. They then market this stuff onto others and spin that wheel along.
I loved how subtly this was woven into the plot and ended up playing a major part in the development of the story. Though there was a deeper message, there were also moments that seemed immature or not fully developed. I didn’t like how Claire jumped to assumptions about the major issue in the story and immediately thought the worst of her friends instead of talking to them, which I don’t think someone would do in real life in this exact situation. It was actually a completely unintentional and understandable mistake.
I would give this a 3.5 out of 5!