Published by: HarperTeen on April 22, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Family
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All her life, Imogene has been known as the girl on THAT blog.
Imogene's mother has been writing an incredibly embarrassing, and incredibly popular, blog about her since before she was born. Hundreds of thousands of perfect strangers knew when Imogene had her first period. Imogene's crush saw her "before and after" orthodontia photos. But Imogene is fifteen now, and her mother is still blogging about her, in gruesome detail, against her will.
When a mandatory school project compels Imogene to start her own blog, Imogene is reluctant to expose even more of her life online...until she realizes that the project is the opportunity she's been waiting for to tell the truth about her life under the virtual microscope and to define herself for the first time.
Don't Call Me Baby is a sharply observed and irrepressibly charming story about mothers and daughters, best friends and first crushes, and the surface-level identities we show the world online and the truth you can see only in real life.
The first thing I noticed about Don’t Call Me Baby was that Imogene’s mom’s blog must have horrible SEO. We get snippets from her blog like:
Linking out of context (i.e. just making the word “here” a link to a post) does not make for good SEO!
But onto serious matters.. 😛
Don’t Call Me Baby is fun, a little fluffy, quick, and entertaining. It wasn’t a super amazing read, but I do think it’s a good book if you just want something fun and quick. I read this in one sitting. I had just DNF’d another book and I just laid down in bed, picked this one up, and didn’t move until I was done. It was so easy to breeze right through it—I love that!
This book was definitely a family/life lesson kind of thing, but as a blogger myself, I was a bit torn. Ultimately, the main character Imogene absolutely HATES blogging. So you can see the problem, yes? Despite our differences there, I actually got along with the story okay. I could see the double standards that her mom had. Imogene’s mom would blog about Imogene’s first period and lack of acquiring dates to dances, which is SO HUMILIATING for her!! And everyone at her school could see that and laugh. Then Imogene blogs about her mom and how she feels like her privacy has been violated through her mom’s blog, and her mom threatens to ground her for posting “hurtful and humiliating posts” about her. Massive double standard.
What to do with a chronic bed-wetter? (Luckily, Imogene’s grown out of that phase.)
Imogene’s mother’s blog
God that’s embarrassing to see on your mom’s blog…
So in that sense, I totally got where Imogene was coming from! It was really easy to relate to Imogene and understand her actions. I think it’s more towards the end when I started to get iffy. View Spoiler » [The message we come away with at the end is that you should spend more time “unplugged” and offline. As someone who loves blogging and spends a lot of time online, I think it was hard for me to connect with that final message. It’s not that it’s a bad idea, but it just doesn’t resonate well with me personally, so I didn’t fully connect with it. « Hide Spoiler]
I think the other big disappointment for me was when Imogene and her best friend Sage got into a big fight. They were in this fight for at least half the book! Up until that point I was really enjoying Don’t Call Me Baby. Imogene and Sage were this awesome duo and it was like “the daughter bloggers vs the mommy bloggers”—I loved it! But once their fight started, things dwindled. It was suddenly a bit less exciting because Imogene was on her own and away from her awesome friend… it was just so much more fun when they were together.
I also think that Don’t Call Me Baby is for a younger audience than I’m used to. The main character is in 9th grade and only 15 (also, since when is 9th grade still not high school? Apparently she was in 9th grade but in her last year of middle school..). The fact that she wasn’t even in high school made the book feel a lot younger, and I guess overall the whole tone of the book was younger than I was used to. I do think that younger audiences will be able to connect with it a bit more than I was able to.
I know I had a lot to say, but despite all my opinions and thoughts, I did enjoy this book! Since it was a tad young for me, I saw it as more of a fun, quick, fluffy book. It had some funny moments and quirky characters (I LOVED Grandma Hope!). Don’t Call Me Baby is a great book if you’re in the mood for something light and entertaining!