FF’s Star Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
The very first paragraph of Pamela Power’s third book Delilah Now Trending is already something to laugh about. Because we learn that Lilah has a stray hair on her chin that she can never find, but it always rears its ugly hairy self at the most inopportune of moments. You just know that you’re in for a bunch of laughs. Anyway, what this book is about. People tend to assume that only public schools have naughty children. But here, the author shows readers that bad apples are bad apples and it doesn’t matter what august school they attend.
At an award ceremony held at twelve-year-old Daisy’s school, Lilah might fallaciously have believed that the position of head girl would go to her popular daughter, but she gets disappointed soon enough. Not only does Daisy not become head girl, but she doesn’t get any position at all. At two in the morning one day, Lilah gets a phone call. Rosie Roberts, the chosen head girl, has fallen off of a second-storey balcony at school. In the meantime, Lilah has learned that her daughter didn’t make head girl because she got caught drinking and smoking a cigarette. Daisy denies it. Then farcical rumors start flying around that Daisy is the one that pushed Rosie. Lilah might not be able to handle the truth about this one.
Hill House is one of those schools, you know. Super reputation. And, of course, more white than black. Ruled by one Mrs. Stewart and the only place on the planet where one can meet the formidable Theodora. The school kids? Forget them because this book is not really about them. It’s about a parent who has to deal with the fact that her perfect daughter might actually be a sociopath while swimming through rivers of gossip and disgusted looks from every other parent who has a kid attending Hill House. And while she’s at it, members of the Blonde Bob Brigade.
Lilah is forty-five years old, divorced, and a single mother who doesn’t mind dropping f-bombs around her daughter and hates the sound of being called Delilah. She loves wine, but she doesn’t drink as much as she used to. Her sense of humor can be a bit harsh, but she’s actually a good person who just grew up with an alcoholic mother and married a man that seemed to be more in love with his reflection and who had other sexual preferences. Stop being so judgmental of thy neighbor people. Lilah’s just looking for love. Sam Jones, a new client of hers with speech problems, might be what she’s been looking for. The guy obviously has a thing for boobs; big ones. Lilah has that covered.
Rosie’s accident makes Lilah feel guilty and ashamed because when Rosie’s head girl announcement was made, Lilah did in fact wish for bad things to happen to her. While Rosie has regrettably ended up comatose, Lilah’s daughter has ended up suspended. What’s worrisome is the possibility that Rosie might not make it.
A stand-pat little individual, Daisy is a lot tougher than other kids, absolutely irritated when people pity her. In her mother’s eyes, she would do no wrong. Popular at school and on top of her game academically speaking, Daisy has many other kids looking up to her. When Lilah gets informed by the school that the reason her daughter didn’t make head girl was because she got caught drinking and smoking a cigarette, Lilah doesn’t want to believe a word of it. With time, however, Lilah can’t help but wonder.
I’m disappointed that the author revealed the identity of the person that pushed Rosie off the balcony too soon. Like, in the beginning of the book! But there is a side of me that love puzzles like the one that Power offers readers here. Misdirection. Pamela Power, word ninja. Sometimes authors give you an answer in the beginning of a book in which something like Rosie’s accident happened, but as you make your way through the chapters, you start to wonder if there’s more to it than the obvious. Case in point, the author makes readers believe that Daisy is the one that pushed off Rosie in a diary entry, but I had this feeling that Daisy could be revealed to be innocent somehow.
“As tough as she pretended to be, Lilah’s heart quailed at the thought of running into anyone she knew”. This Rosie business is slowly taking its tole on Lilah. This fear of the possibility that her daughter might end up in jail. Then, if you think that’s not bad enough, Lilah soon finds herself standing under the watchful eyes of the press. Hungry. Pens, notebooks, cameras. Hench, Delilah trends. Social media. Kaboom.
An antagonist hard to dislike because she is the mother of Rosie, Beth loves every minute of this. Her daughter is in a coma, and no mother should have to face the possibility that the child she knew is gone forever, but Beth has mentally circled an opportunity to make a lot of money out of this tragedy.
Portia is Lilah’s maid. Lazy as hell. Quick to lie on her CV but not to somebody from the church. I didn’t like her as a character. “She’d step over” Lilah’s “dead body rather than have to exert herself”. She could be scrapped from the novel entirely and the novel would still be as enjoyable as I found it. I think the author merely put her there to push in a few more jokes and funny reactions. A dog would’ve been more likable, was what I was thinking.
A woman who prefers meditating over praying, Lilah can make some parents’ jaws drop straight to the floor and crush a couple of toes in the process by doing questionable things like offering her daughter alcohol to remedy hurt feelings. If you want to know what life is like for a forty-something-year-old single financially stable woman in South Africa, then I’d definitely recommend this humorous book for you to read. Too gamy for kids though. Lilah hasn’t gotten any in a while. Overgrown forests in dire need of chainsaws. Pamela Power’s novel is one parents with school kids – whether they’re kids be top dogs or underdogs – will enjoy.
Free paperback received from Penguin Random House SA.
Date Published: April 1, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
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