20 April 2017

Release Day Review & Guestpost: Becoming Betty by Eleanor Wood

Lizzie Brown's life is one big to-do list: 
1. Start college
2. Become cool
3. Decide wtf to do with her life

So when she meets Viv, the crazy, beautiful lead singer in a band, she thinks she's on her way to achieving number two on her list. And when Viv asks her to be the bass player in the band, there's only one problem - Lizzie can't play a single note. And that she's nowhere near cool enough (ok, two problems). And that she has a huge crush on the guitarist (ok, three), who happens to be Viv's boyfriend (ok, this is a terrible idea).

But Viv won't take no for an answer, and decides that a makeover is the answer to everything. Boring Lizzie Brown is going to become Betty Brown the Bass Player and there's nothing Lizzie can do about it...


Source: Review Consideration | Purchase

5 Words: Music, friendship, family, change, growing-up.

Yep, she's done it again.

This is exactly the book I wish I'd had when I was sixteen. At times when I was reading I forgot I was reading about Lizzie and thought I was reading about myself. As much as I saw myself in the main character, it was still easy to escape into this story.

I loved how there were friendships that changed. I loved that first, desperate day at college. The whole book came to life as I read, played out in my head like I was watching it on TV.

Something Eleanor Wood does really well is writing about how actions have consequences. Whatever her characters do, right or wrong, there are repercussions within the story. It adds extra depth to the whole story, and makes her characters all the more human.
Behind Becoming Betty 
When I wrote Becoming Betty, the main theme I had in my head was: GIRLS DOING STUFF! Sounds very basic, I know… 
I was conscious that in my first book My Secret Rockstar Boyfriend, the heroine Tuesday (although she is super cool, and a blogger and a writer and a “do-er”) – she spends the entire story idolising a boy in a band, instead of being in a band herself. The whole book was about music, but from the point of view of being a fan rather than a musician. 
So, of course the logical next step was to write a book about girls in bands. It is very loosely inspired by the time I was in a (terrible) band when I was younger. Like Betty, I learned to play bass because it was known for being the easiest instrument. Unfortunately, I did not uncover any great hidden talent. However, I did have a brilliant time and learned to play a few songs on the bass (although mostly my friends and I sat around and drank tea and talked about how amazing our band was going to be at some unspecified point in the future). If we had spent that time actually practising, who knows where we’d be now?! 
Funnily enough, after I had written the book, I heard the term ‘girl band lit’ mentioned for the first time. During a Twitter chat about #boybandlit someone (actually the brilliant Chris Russell!) suggested that somebody needed to start writing ‘girlband lit’! It was only then it occurred to me, that’s exactly what I have written! 
While I was writing the book, I was really inspired by a few books about young girls in bands. Personally, I think these are fascinating reads whether you’re a fan of the music or not… 

Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. by Viv Albertine

Isn’t that the greatest title ever? It’s a quote from the author’s mum, shouted during an argument: ‘all you ever think about is…!’ Viv Albertine was in The Slits, a girl band in London in the 70s. None of them knew how to play, they just made it up as they went along, then became an important band on the punk scene. Viv Albertine is the coolest. I love this book so much, I named one of my main characters after her. 

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein

Not only was Carrie Brownstein in the amazing band Sleater Kinney – she then had a total career change when the band broke up and now writes the comedy show Portlandia. She also volunteers for a rescue dog charity. She is wonderful and inspiring. 

Paradoxical Undressing by Kristin Hersh

This memoir covers a year in Kristin’s life, when she was still a teenager. That year was a dramatic time to say the least: her band the Throwing Muses got signed, she was misdiagnosed with schizophrenia and she had a baby. This woman is amazing and her book is beautiful.

4 comments:

  1. Sounds brilliant you did a great job of explaining the book without giving the plot away. I will definetly be checking it out! xx

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  2. A great review and teaser wanting me to read more of the book!

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  3. Sounds like a great book! Nice review! xx corinne

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  4. A great review!!! Youve made it sound very good leaving me want to read!x

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