Book Review: Why Mummy Doesn’t Give A ****! by Gill Sims

May half term was the usual #funtimes #soblessed – juggling 4 kids with no childcare, the eldest child of the 4 being mid GCSEs, so eggshells were being trodden on, and we still needed to run our construction company.

Then – on the last day of the week – I was emailed by the publisher asking if I’d like to read an advanced review copy of Gill Sims new book Why Mummy Doesn’t Give A F*ck!  I was beyond excited.  I have LOVED the previous 2 books in the series – Why Mummy Drinks and Why Mummy Swears – so couldn’t wait to catch up with Ellen and co again.

Why Mummy

Here’s the blurb:

“Family begins with a capital eff.
I’m wondering how many more f*cking ‘phases’ I have to endure before my children become civilised and functioning members of society? It seems like people have been telling me ‘it’s just a phase!’ for the last fifteen bloody years. Not sleeping through the night is ‘just a phase.’ Potty training and the associated accidents ‘is just a phase’. The tantrums of the terrible twos are ‘just a phase’. The picky eating, the back chat, the obsessions. The toddler refusals to nap, the teenage inability to leave their beds before 1pm without a rocket being put up their arse. The endless singing of Frozen songs, the dabbing, the weeks where apparently making them wear pants was akin to child torture. All ‘just phases!’ When do the ‘phases’ end though? WHEN?
Mummy dreams of a quirky rural cottage with roses around the door and chatty chickens in the garden. Life, as ever, is not going quite as she planned. Paxo, Oxo and Bisto turn out to be highly rambunctious, rather than merely chatty, and the roses have jaggy thorns. Her precious moppets are now giant teenagers, and instead of wittering at her about who would win in a fight – a dragon badger or a ninja horse – they are Snapchatting the night away, stropping around the tiny cottage and communicating mainly in grunts – except when they are demanding Ellen provides taxi services in the small hours. And there is never, but never, any milk in the house. At least the one thing they can all agree on is that rescued Barry the Wolfdog may indeed be The Ugliest Dog in the World, but he is also the loveliest.”

This picks up when Jane and Peter are 15 and 13 – which is pretty much the age of my oldest 2 children.  I love that the 3 books have started with kids the age of my littlest pair, and now they’re the age of my eldest pair #relevanttome.

It is just sooooo spot on with references of life with teenagers.

I thought I was the only person whose teenage daughter refers to them as ‘mother’ in a disparaging  way – but seemingly not!

I’m also not sure I’ve ever read a book that has referenced The Suite Life On Deck (a slightly rubbish American kids TV programme which my kids loved when they were younger – and I’m not sure I’d ever realised that Zack and Cody (the twins in it) were played by the actors who played Ben in Friends – so this book is also very educational!!)

I could quote reference after reference – but I don’t want to ruin it for you – as you’ll also be nodding and laughing along when you read it.

Although – my absolute favourite part is when Ellen says that parents’ evening should be parent’s evening because she’s going on her own.  Who doesn’t love an apostrophe gag?!? (I am such a geek, sometimes I want to punch myself……….)

The book covers some big topics – death / divorce / moving house – but does it brilliantly, and with great ‘realness’ (not sure that’s even a proper word) and emotion.

On a personal level, and another brilliant reference point for me, we’ve just had chickens too – also starting off with 3 (Bertha, Wispa and Crunchie rather than Paxo, Oxo and Bisto – I’m disappointed we didn’t go for those names, particularly as they are partial to sage and onion stuffing and gravy – as a friend pointed out, feeding them that is practically pre-loading) – but have now added a cockerel, 8 further chickens (2 of which are partially sighted) and 2 micro pigs to our menagerie. I have also likened myself to Barbara from the Good Life (when I’d always wanted to be more Margot!) but without the dungarees.

chickens and pigs

Gill Sims is so bloody good at writing books.  Other parenting blogs have tried to make the leap to books and it’s just not translated as well (mentioning no names) but Gill’s books are all BRILLIANT.  If you haven’t read the first 2 (and don’t mind a bit of potty mouthed language), then download them IMMEDIATELY – and pre order this for when it’s out later this month.  I would go as far as to say this one is my favourite of the three!!

A massive thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an advanced review copy.

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: Vox by Christina Dalcher

Vox

Lots of friends had raved about Vox in our Facebook ‘book club’ – and when we had our inaugural real life book club (basically just a few of us in the pub, drinking gin and chatting about books!) I was lucky enough to be lent a copy.  I’m always nervous when people have loved something, what if I don’t, and then they think I’m weird?!  But one of my best friends said it was the first book she’d got truly invested in since Eleanor Oliphant, I had high hopes!

Here’s the blurb:

“Silence can be deafening.

Jean McClellan spends her time in almost complete silence, limited to just one hundred words a day. Any more, and a thousand volts of electricity will course through her veins.
Now the new government is in power, everything has changed. But only if you’re a woman.
Almost overnight, bank accounts are frozen, passports are taken away and seventy million women lose their jobs. Even more terrifyingly, young girls are no longer taught to read or write.
For herself, her daughter, and for every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice. This is only the beginning…

[100 WORD LIMIT REACHED]”

I need not have been concerned – I also really enjoyed Vox!

It’s set in the US and feels like it could be the present day.  Whilst the premise is that society in America has changed and all women and girls can only speak 100 words a day – and initially that sounds ridiculous – but when you see the back story and how it’s developed, it is also worryingly possible………..

The link between the President and his team and religion is reminiscent of the current situation across the Atlantic.  I usually steer clear of religion and politics on social media – but it’s intrinsically part of this book.  The establishment believe that a woman’s place is solely in the home caring for her family – and consequently girls don’t need to be taught to read and write – and maths skills are only for weighing out cooking ingredients etc.

That is until the aforementioned establishment need Jean’s work skills from her previous life as a scientist!

The book follows what happens next and Jean’s relationships with her family, friends, neighbours, colleagues and those in power.  It is BRILLIANT.  So clever and intricate – but also so horribly, horribly plausible.

Jean was clearly a super intelligent, high achieving woman before these rules were put in place – and struggles massively with authority – but I don’t want to give away any spoilers…..

I found the relationship with her eldest son the most interesting – and also really disturbing……

I’ve read that the booked is a reworking of The Handmaid’s Tale – but I haven’t read that so can’t really comment – but as a standalone book, I really enjoyed it.