This is a book about a stay-at-home Mom who does part-time work from home; she blogs, she loves reading books, she has a husband who works long hours and she doesn’t care for other ‘mommy’ opinions that she overhears on the playground. Does this sound like anyone you know? Anyone that is, perhaps, typing the very words you are reading now? Yes, myself and the protagonist of Mitzi Bytes have much in common, which probably explains why I loved this novel.
It’s written by Kerry Clare, a wonderful book blogger, journalist (and mother!) who I’ve been following since 2009, and I aspire to have a successful book-ish career like hers every time I hear about another fun literary project that she’s involved in. In short, she’s one of my literary idols, so it was pure luck that this book was sent to me for review by her publisher, because before I wrote this, I had never really voiced how much of a fan I was of this particular woman. Because of my existing fandom of her, I was quite nervous about reading this book-what if I didn’t like it? Would I see her differently and have to move onto some other Canadian book blogger to rejoice in? Thankfully I do not, as I loved Mitzi Bytes, and I’m sure all my fellow book bloggers will feel the same way if they haven’t read it already.
As I mentioned above the protagonist or “Mitzi” is a blogger, a very successful one actually, who was named one of the top 40 bloggers of the year by Time Magazine (back when they had a list like that, I doubt one exists now). But, Mitzi is a screen name, the woman behind the blog is actually the little-known Sarah Lundy, a mother of two who is better known by the PTA as the mom who doesn’t volunteer as much as she should. Sarah started the blog as a way to broadcast her often snarky opinions about those around her, so of course she had to do this anonymously. But when she began the blog she was a single woman reeling from a difficult divorce, now 10 years later, she has a loving family, and much more to lose. Someone known only as “Jane Q” sends a few nasty emails to Sarah announcing that she has been found out, and in retribution for the blog’s unkind comments, Jane Q is ready to oust Sarah for who she really is.
Now this book probably fits in with the genre of ‘contemporary women’s literature (or chick-lit), but it has a literary twist to it for sure. The main characters have a substantial amount of depth to them, and although silly things do happen throughout the plot, the emotional push and pull between the lines is just as important to the outcome of this story. Serious issues of fidelity, truth, and freedom of speech are addressed here, which elevate this book from an enjoyable read to an important one. I’ve spoken about the emerging genre of ‘mommy-lit’ in this blog before, but Mitzi Bytes is a more thought-provoking read that deserves to be elevated beyond that somewhat limiting category.
I struggle to say ‘everyone’ will love this book, because I don’t think that’s the case here, and I also don’t think that’s a mark of a worthwhile read. When I feel as though a book is written solely for me, and reflects my life back at me so clearly (without perhaps, the whole hugely successful anonymous blogger part) I’m a bit hesitant to make any grand recommendations. But I can say unequivocally that this is one the best books I’ve read in awhile, and I do look forward to Clare’s next offering.