Aesthetica by Allie Rowbottom | Book Review

This was difficult on audio.

Aesthetica by Allie Rowbottom

Released November 2022

Source: Library Borrow

Goodreads  | Amazon

In a debut novel as radiant as it is caustic, a former influencer confronts her past—and takes inventory of the damages that underpin the surface-glamour of social media.

At 19, she was an Instagram celebrity. Now, at 35, she works behind the cosmetic counter at the “black and white store,” peddling anti-aging products to women seeking physical and spiritual transformation. She too is seeking rebirth. She’s about to undergo the high-risk, elective surgery Aesthetica™, a procedure will reverse all her past plastic surgery procedures, returning her, she hopes, to a truer self. Provided she survives the knife.

But on the eve of the surgery, her traumatic past resurfaces when she is asked to participate in the public takedown of her former manager/boyfriend, who has rebranded himself as a paragon of “woke” masculinity in the post-#MeToo world. With the hours ticking down to her life-threatening surgery, she must confront the ugly truth about her experiences on and off the Instagram grid.

Propulsive, dark, and moving, Aesthetica is a Veronica for the age of “Instagram face,” delivering a fresh, nuanced examination of feminism, #metoo, and mother-daughter relationships, all while confronting our collective addiction to followers, filters, and faux realities.

My 2 Cents for Free!

Someone get me off this 3-star train. I hate writing them. People hate reading them (they make sure to tell me whenever they can). But here we are again. 3-stars means "liked it" and I did but I didn't "really like it" or "think it was amazing".

Now with that out of the way, I listened to Aesthetica on audiobook and that was a mistake. This is a story about a young woman who wants to make her fortune in sponsors with likes and comments on Instagram. The book is filled to the brim with these: πŸ’–πŸ˜»❤️😍πŸ₯° glitter-heart emoji, heart-eyed cat emoji, red heart emoji, smiling heart-eye emoji, face with hearts emoji.

Was that fun reading? If it was you might like this audiobook because that's just a little taste of what is in store for you. If it was annoying, you might not like that about this audiobook. I love using and abusing emoji's, so I have nothing against them but having each and every one described was tedious. The narrator was otherwise wonderful. I don't know who made the decision to describe each emoji, but man how I wish they hadn't.

Anyhow, this is a decent story about the obsession with photoshop that leads women to modify their faces and bodies to disturbing levels to stay relevant and on top of that big pile of likes. It's a dark and disturbing journey about a young woman who gets taken advantage of in the worst of ways and who, now that she's 35, wants to undue everything she's done with a procedure called "Aesthetica" which claims to return people to their pre-surgery days and make them look as nature intended. The timeline flips around so we get to see all of the shady things that happen in real-time.

It's a scathing and timely look at internet obsessions and unobtainable and ever changing beauty standards and the harm they can potentially do. And honestly how unimportant it all is the scheme of things.

Recommended but maybe read it in paper or you might find yourself with a new hatred for the innocent emoji and skipping ahead when they make their many appearances.


  1. The emoji think would drive me bananas. The whole influencer thing is not for me or something I get into and I kind of want to be "Duh, it's meaningless!" but I didn't grow-up with it in the way Gen Z has, so the working through and growing up could lead to some interesting takes in fiction. I do fear for the Self-Help section in about ten/twenty years and all the books that are probably going to be dealing with this lol. The kids that have been monetized from birth, save for that therapy now.

    1. The whole influencer thing drives me bananas but I also didn't grow up with it so maybe I'd think differently if I had. The whole consumerism thing "buy, buy, buy" just gives me the icks.

  2. I'm the same about 3 stars, it's a good solid read and means I liked it. That would be most of my reviews lol. I don't really get the whole influencer thing either, I hate to sound old but I'm glad I didn't grow up now.

    1. I don't know when 3 stars became the devil for some people but it makes me sad. Three is right in the middle for me.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Between Naps: January 28 Edition

Retro Review: The Woods by Harlan Coben

Ten Underrated/Hidden Gems I've Read Recently