Willoughby Book Club (Adults) January 2020 Date Blocks and Book Living the Dream by Lauren Berry

Willoughby Book Club: Contemporary Edition | December 2019 | Unboxing & Honest Review

This is a review and unboxing of the December 2019 Contemporary Edition of the Willoughby Book Club subscription.

The Willoughby Book Club is a UK-based monthly book subscription for kids and adults who love to discover new books.

Subscriptions for adults are available in several versions, each of which is focused on a different fiction or non-fiction theme. Even within a given theme, each subscriber will receive a separate selection of books. The Contemporary Edition is one of several fiction options; the others are “Bespoke” and “Classic.”

Willoughby Book Club (Adults) January 2020 Wrapped Book

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The Book

The December 2019 shipment of the Willoughby Book Club Contemporary subscription contained a paperback version of the novel “Living the Dream,” by Lauren Berry.


Amazon describes this novel as a “cheeky, charming debut about twentysomething best friends in London navigating their careers and love lives past post-collegiate turmoil and into adulthood with lots of pints along the way.” The humorous story explores friendship and career, with the main character’s dreams of being a writer butting up against the reality of working as a “creative” in a big-city marketing firm.

British author Lauren Berry founded the satirical feminist magazine “KnockBack” and has written about women for major publications including Observer and Independent. This is her first novel.

My Thoughts

I tend to gravitate to literary fiction that is dense and thought-provoking, but sometimes you just need the catharsis and comic relief that only a juicy beach read can bring. As a former rat racer and someone who straddles the millenial bracket, I can relate well to how easy it is for the modern woman to get swept into big city, big corporate life and away from her deepest hopes and dreams. I’m guiltily excited to sink my teeth into this one.

Retail Value

The MSRP of this book is £8.99 in the UK and $16.00 in the United States.

Stock Up

If you missed the Willoughby Book Club Contemporary selection this month or didn’t receive this book in your box, you can get it from Amazon.

Value & Verdict

My total monthly cost for the Willoughby Book Club Contemporary subscription is £15.33 (~$20).

As you can see, Willoughby Book Club’s Classic and Contemporary fiction subscriptions are not boxes to buy for retail savings. UK subscribers will just about break even with the price of the box, but other international subscribers will be paying a slight to substantial premium over U.S. retail value. For example, with shipping costs, I paid a 25% premium over US retail for this month’s book.

However, it’s worth considering that this might not end up being too much more than you would have to pay for the books anyway, because depending on where you live overseas, there may be a steep premium on English books and a poor selection. So even though no one really pays the full MSRP for books these days, you may not fare quite as badly as this analysis makes it appear.

But nonetheless, the Willoughby Book Club Contemporary subscription is really more for the careful curation and selection of great books. For the convenience of getting a personally curated fiction fix and discovering authors that Amazon’s algorithms might never show you, this subscription is a great buy or self-treat for voracious readers and intellectuals.

General Information

For general information about Willoughby Book Club subscriptions, including theme options, cost, shipping, tracking, packaging, charitable giving, and customer experience, see the Willoughby Book Club Overview post.

Also, you can click here to see our other Willoughby Book Club unboxings and reviews.

Give a Shout!

Let us know what you think of the December 2019 Contemporary Edition of the Willoughby Book Club subscription in the comments below. Did you get a different book? Are you satisfied with your pick? As always, we love hearing from you.

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