Friday, November 25, 2022

Book Review: "Aesthetica" by Allie Rowbottom

Allie Rowbottom's debut is a searing look at the pressures of social media and beauty standards for women.

Ever since Anna was young, she wanted to be beautiful and famous. As she grew into her teen years, she realized that her best bet was to become an influencer on social media. She was constantly obsessed with photos, angles, likes, and followers.

After graduation from high school, she moves to Los Angeles and really ups her social media game. She quickly catches the attention of Jake, who is handsome and well-connected, and he becomes her boyfriend and manager of sorts. And little by little, she finds she needs to change herself to be what the public wants, so she becomes obsessed with plastic surgery.

The book alternates between Anna at 19 and Anna at 35, barely recognizable because of all the surgeries, procedures, and fillers she’s had through the years. Gone are the days of influencing; she now works at the cosmetics counter of a store that sells anti-aging products.

Anna is about to have revolutionary surgery called Aesthetica, which will reverse all of her past surgeries and procedures and return her face to what it should look like for a woman her age. She hopes it will help her find her true self again—if she survives the risky surgery. At the same time, she’s being asked to speak out against Jake, who has also remade himself as an adventure-seeking family man despite all of his transgressions through the years.

This is a really powerful book. It’s not a happy one, necessarily, but it definitely made me think about the unrealistic pressures social media and fame put on people, especially women.

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