Review of The Gospel According To Drew Barrymore by Pippa Wright

Published: 26th March 2015
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Pages: 464


Esther and Laura have been best friends since they were seven, when Esther was chubby and Laura was already perfect. So much has changed since then – school, boyfriends, drink, experimental hair-dye, university, jobs, London, babies – and their friendship has changed just as much, but they are still close, still inextricably linked to one another. So when Esther is told that Laura has gone missing, she leaves everything behind – including her husband and small child – to fly to San Francisco and trace her friend’s last movements. All she has is an email from Laura: ‘I’m channelling Drew Barrymore, as ever. The Gospel, right?’ In trying to understand why Laura has disappeared, and what on earth Drew Barrymore has to do with it, Esther needs to look back. Back at the secrets woven into their friendship and the truths she’s avoided facing for so long.


Thank you to Pan Macmillan for kindly sending me a review copy.

The narrative opens with a worried phone call to Esther from Cold War Margie about Laura who has gone missing – no phone calls, no texts or emails from her from days on end. It’s Esther’s job as the best friend to track her down in America, but before that, she takes the readers on a trip down memory lane to the 80’s when the girls first met..

“…some of the bigger girls started a campaign to ban corned beef at lunch.”

Pippa made the transition from 2013 to 1982 really well. The narrators voice changed from adult to child smoothly and that’s an aspect of writing which I really applaud. The voice of the children was so clear and if you opened the book at that particular chapter, it would be obvious what aged the characters were. It was great that Esther and Laura had bonded over the cinematic genius that is E.T and their friendship just grew from there. You could see from their first meeting that their relationship wouldn’t be plain sailing as Laura wanted everything to be done her way or no way. I really enjoyed how one chapter was in the now (2013) and the other was in the past (1982+) and into later years when the girls grow up. This allowed us to learn about them from the beginning and as Laura’s disappearance gave it a mystery sense, I thought it would help readers with clues..

“Now you’ve smoked your first cigarette.”

I could relate to Esther a lot with her having a baby face, being bullied in school, never being cool/popular and just plodding along in life. I really wanted to shout IT GETS BETTER to her because it does. When she went away for University and came back for a family event, she had lost a lot of weight and it was a huge IN YOUR FACE BULLIES moment which I absolutely loved. Esther was by far my favourite character of the book purely for the relatable aspect as well as her faithfulness. The one part of the flashbacks I didn’t like consisted of Ricko *sigh* what a douche. I can’t even comment anymore about him because it was just a complete idiot towards Esther – what happened to boyfriends being nice to their girlfriends best friends?

“…he can dream on if he thinks I’ll do my errands in tight tops and hot pants like the Hill’s Angels.” 

When Esther travels to America for a few days in the hope of finding her best friend, she meets Laura’s boss Stanley but does he know more than he’s leading on? Esther is the type of friend who will drop her entire life (and Penguin party plans) to be with Laura at a time of need < this was in a flashback FYI. But I couldn’t help but think that Laura wouldn’t do the same for Esther which was a shame because she definitely underestimates her friendship with Esther.

“Little Fat Fester, so desperate to be liked.”

Overall, I thought the plot was a little slow for the mystery storyline and I much prefer them to be fast paced but that’s just my cup of tea for discovering the truth in plots. The relationship between Esther and Laura changes vastly and it was very realistic – I could definitely relate! Pippa’s writing style is easy on the eyes, especially with all the Film references and for someone like myself who studied Film for both A Levels and University, it was a bonus!

Twitter: @TroisVerres


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