Hall of Fame Review: Not Quite A Geordie by Holly Hagan (5/5)

Thursday 2 October 2014
Busty babe Holly Hagan has had viewers of Geordie Shore glued to their screens ever since her arrival in the first series. Fed up with her dead end job at a call center, and with dreams of being a star one day, Holly applied for a new reality TV show. She couldn’t know it was to catapult her into fame and make her one of the most recognizable faces on British TV.

Fame and fortune, though, came at a price—the road from the call center to the celebrity circuit has been far from smooth. For the first time, Holly is lifting the lid on the perks and perils she’s faced ever since her topless hot tub antics shocked the nation. Holly owes her success to a very simple change of look, which involved both a new bottle of red hair dye and a newfound confidence. Ever since then, audiences have been in stitches as they watch Holly (and her flame-red hair) flirt her way around Newcastle’s famed "Diamond Strip," and places further afield, such as Magaluf, Cancun, and Australia.

In this action-packed, revealing, funny, and sometimes heartbreaking memoir, Holly recounts her life in and out of the limelight with brutal honesty—from her childhood days when she was badly bullied, her shocking take on sex and dating, her liaison with bad-boy musician Frankie Cocozza, and what really goes on behind-the-scenes on the UK’s biggest reality TV show. Filled with genuinely touching stories and inside accounts of what they don’t show you on TV, Holly has laid herself bare, first physically and now emotionally. If you think you know all there is to know about Holly from Geordie Shore, think again.

In recent months I've read and reviewed two autobiographies from the Geordie Shore cast, Vicky's and Gaz's, however the book I was most excited for in all honesty was Holly's when I first read about it back in July. I love Holly on Geordie Shore and despite some moments that have left me cringing she is definitely my favourite out of the cast now. I was also happy to see that the book was ghostwritten by Elissa Corrigan who I loved on Desperate Scousewives.

First of all I can't applaud Holly enough for sharing her story. Anyone who has faced any of the issues in this book; bullying, body issues, confidence issues, family breakdowns, acceptance from people you want to like you, whatever, will know how easy it is to try and bottle it up or try to pretend it didn't happen and so it must be a thousand times more difficult to share those stories with the world and do it as openly and honestly as Holly has done here. As somebody who has experienced bullying myself, I had a lump in my throat reading the chapters surrounding her awful experiences in school, started off over a trivial misunderstanding. This eventually led to her developing issues about her weight after more silly comments in school. There are plenty of touching and humorous moments in her upbringing as well and there are some great stories shared here.

After leaving school Holly now had the dilemma that plagues every young person - what to do with her life. Little did she know that an application for a new reality TV show would change her life forever. That reality TV show being of course, Geordie Shore. Having previously read books from the other housemates I was worried some bits might feel repetitive but it's always interesting to get other sides of the story and to see what Holly's opinion was of everything that went down. Geordie Shore is real, yet certain things are exaggerated, blown out of proportion, or not shown as we only see a few hours out of days worth of footage and so it's very easy to form an opinion of somebody from what the people editing the footage want you to see. Holly herself admits in the book that they can only edit what you yourself do, but still it can be done in a way that can make certain people look worse than they are (or make some people look better than they are as is the case here). They might all be friends (most of the time) now but it was definitely a rocky start.

Watching the first couple of episodes of Geordie Shore I'd say every single housemate had annoying qualities, and it's only when you live with someone that you really see how annoying they can be (like when you go on holiday) and I think it's really unfair how Holly was treated in the earlier episodes and the way she was spoken about. Yes she has her own mind but as a young girl she was easily swayed by the men and didn't have the backup of the girls to stop her. Geordie Shore for the viewer is entertainment yet for the people featured it's real life and no amount of money in the world can make up for feeling like an outcast, or receiving death threats from people sitting behind a computer screen. A lesser woman would surely have packed her bags and left for good.

The Geordie Shore chapters are essentially season recaps but from Holly's point of view and I loved reliving all the crazy moments that the show has given us. It's mad how different the same things look through someone else's eyes. Certain things that Gaz and Vicky talked about are talked about here but in a totally different way. What intrigued me most was the attitude of James towards Holly. It was actually a bit uncomfortable to read at times and I'm shocked at what went on behind the scenes between those two. At the time I thought James was a fool for not wanting to get with Holly or admit his feelings and after reading this I find it even more bizarre. 

Holly herself has said she doesn't want to be a role model for young women and in terms of the drinking and the way she behaves at times on Geordie Shore that's understandable but I think by sharing the story of her early life here so honestly and showing that you can overcome anything has made her somewhat of a role model in that respect. She comes across as confident on Geordie Shore but still faces the same insecurities and worries that plague thousands of women. Holly is beautiful inside and out (certainly for me the sexiest out of the girls, and facially the most attractive) she was just really young when the show started and didn't know then what she does now. 

Overall my opinion of Holly couldn't be higher after reading this book and I do have a newfound respect for her. I was a fan already but I only love her even more after reading this book. She has never backed down in her life and you can see that has made her the woman she is today. She's brave, honest and doesn't take any rubbish from anybody and that's always admirable. Also she holds her hands up to all her mistakes. This certainly isn't a woe is me tale where Holly tries to blame everything on other people, she admits to all her faults and discusses everything openly rather than choosing the topics to discuss and shying away from others like so many people do when they write their autobiographies.

Holly is now looking the best she has ever looked and her career is only going from strength to strength and no matter what the haters say they can't take that away from her. I'm only jealous that my brother got to meet her at his university Freshers week recently! This book is a definite must read for fans of Holly and Geordie Shore but could also serve as an eyeopener to those that think there isn't much to the cast of Geordie Shore. They are a lot more intelligent and savvy than you might think. Whether you have a positive or negative opinion about Holly or the cast, all it does is help them make even more money giving them the last laugh. Interest in the show is still high in the run up to the new series and I wonder just how long it can continue. I hope for a while longer yet. This book comes highly recommended by me. 

Thanks to John Blake for the review copy. 

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